Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

A neighborhood's rooster will crow no more

ST. PETERSBURG — At a bend in the road near Joe's Creek, birds sing and dogs bark. But the rooster no longer crows.

Most mornings, residents would hear the cries of Gilman the Rooster as he sat atop a roof greeting the day. But on Saturday, they awoke to shots from a .45-caliber handgun. Several of them. Boom, boom, boom, boom!

Bobbie Horton heard it. Deanna Schwartz did, too. Then she ran into her 5-year-old's room and peeked through the blinds.

That's when she saw him. A guy who lived in the neighborhood was standing next door, and she heard him declare, "I got him!"

The him being Gilman.

The guy yelling victory being Eric Nicastro, 30, who lives at 5000 74th St. N.

As turns out, Nicastro had been asking recently who owned the rooster. Gilman and the pack of chickens he leads had lived in this unincorporated neighborhood of modest houses near the creek for a few years, but no one could say who owned them.

So Saturday, Nicastro took a BB gun and went after the young auburn cock with a proud red comb, according to authorities. At some point, he upgraded to the handgun and chased the rooster into a neighbor's yard. That's when the shots came and the crows ended for good. Nicastro threw the body into the creek, said Jim Bordner, a spokesman for the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Witnesses who heard the shots called authorities. Deputies arrived about 8:30 a.m. They saw Nicastro walking down the street, carrying his gun in a case. They didn't arrest him, but did recommend a charge of improper exhibition of a firearm to the state attorney's office.

Nicastro couldn't be reached for comment.

Neighbors felt the goodwill of the community shatter with the gunshots.

Schwartz, 33, said she couldn't believe someone would shoot an innocent animal just feet from where her son was sleeping.

"He was like the neighborhood alarm clock," she said.

The chickens appeared a few years ago when a neighbor apparently let them roam free. They pecked in the grass, nestled into little beds and laid eggs.

Britani Farley, 16, remembered Gilman as a chick. When he started crowing, she named him after her favorite country singer, Billy Gilman, who landed his big hit One Voice in 2000 at age 12.

At night, the chickens would roost in an oak at James Dominic's house. In the morning, Gilman would drop onto the roof and start crowing.

Lately, the flock has fallen on hard times. A hen was killed by a dog, a younger rooster disappeared. And now Gilman. "I broke down in tears," said Farley. "They're my pets."

Gale Tinklepaugh, 62, said the rooster made her feel like she lives in the country. Her house is painted barn-red, and wagon wheels lean against the front fence.

"You hear the rooster and it made you feel good," she said, her eyes a little wet.

As the sun set Saturday, bread crumbs remained on Dominic's roof.

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Stephanie Garry can be reached at (727) 892-2374 or sgarry@sptimes.com.

A neighborhood's rooster will crow no more 04/12/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 18, 2008 10:03am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.