Pennsylvania Man Charged in Amish Buggy Shooting

In 1996, parody pop star Weird Al Yankovic reworked rapper Coolio’s grim anthem “Gangsta’s Paradise” into the decidedly goofier “Amish Paradise,” sarcastically lamenting the perils of the famously peaceable Amish lifestyle.  But even the quiet, pastoral communities of the Amish aren’t completely free from incidents of violent crime: a Pennsylvania man has just been charged with multiple misdemeanors following the November shooting of an Amish buggy, which fatally wounded the horse drawing the vehicle.

The Amish of Lancaster County

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is a sleepy stretch of small towns, fields, and farmland, obscure but for one claim to fame: the dense population of Amish.  The Amish have been living and working in “Pennsylvania Dutch Country” dating back to the eighteenth century, and today, approximately 30,000 Amish of the Old Order communities call Lancaster County their home.  The Amish are largely responsible for pulling in Lancaster’s yearly influx of some 10 million tourists and visitors, an industry which the county estimates generates a staggering $1.8 billion per year.

Unfortunately, the people who seek out the Amish aren’t always peaceful tourists.

On Tuesday, February 11, 22-year-old Timothy Antonio Diggs of Ronk, Pennsylvania — a town with a population of just 362 residents, according to the 2010 Census — was charged in connection with the fatal shooting of an Amish family’s buggy-horse.  But Diggs won’t be heading to jail — he was already there.

Multiple Misdemeanor Charges in Pennsylvania

At approximately 9 P.M. on the evening of November 24, 2013, an Amish family of five was riding in their horse-drawn buggy.  The married couple and their three children were traveling along the roadways of East Lampeter Township, when they suddenly heard what they described as “a loud noise… sounding like a firecracker.”  Sadly, the sound they heard was not a firecracker, but the deadly discharge of a handgun.

In a perplexing crime whose motive is yet to be determined, Timothy Diggs fired at the family’s buggy, fatally wounding the vehicle’s horse in the chest.  The family called for the services of a veterinarian, but the animal died before help could arrive.

Following the shooting on November 24th, East Lampeter Township police obtained a search warrant.  Upon entering Diggs’ home with the warrant on December 2nd, officers discovered a motorcycle and multiple handguns which Diggs had stolen in a previous robbery.  Diggs was sent to Lancaster County Jail on stolen property charges, where he currently resides on $250,000 bail.

In addition to his robbery charges from 2013, Diggs now faces seven misdemeanor charges in connection with the shooting.  The new charges include animal cruelty, reckless endangerment, and firing into an occupied vehicle.  Tips from the local community helped East Lampeter Township police to identify Diggs.

Lieutenant Robin Weaver is pleased that Diggs is behind bars.  “This obviously was a very alarming crime. […]  We feel a deep gratification in making this arrest,” said the Lieutenant.

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