Former Ashley pitcher charged with killing goose
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A former pitcher for Ashley High School is facing charges after he allegedly killed a wild goose that wandered onto the school's baseball field in April.
Officer Ludwick with the NC Wildlife Commission said based on statements from parents, players, and coach Brian Stewart, 18-year-old Price King was charged Tuesday with closed-season hunting — a class 2 misdemeanor with a fine of up to $250.
King is expected to make a court appearance on Aug. 21.
According to members of the baseball team, King dove on top of the goose during warmups at practice while at the athletic fields near Ashley High. The goose tried to break free, could be heard yelping, and then went silent. Team members say the coach yelled at them, "Don't let this get around."
The players later told their parents about the incident and concerned parents contacted WECT saying King continued to play every game, seemingly without consequences.
Principal Patrick McCarty initially said King tried to chase the goose off the field and kicked it, injuring the bird. When asked what kind of help it was given, McCarty said the goose "was taken care of and the pitcher suffered consequences."
Two local bird rescue groups said they were never contacted about an injured goose at Ashley.
Since Canadian geese are a federally protected species, we asked if McCarty reported the incident to wildlife authorities. He said he wasn't aware of that and would make sure it was done.
McCarty later responded that he referred the incident to law enforcement, who contacted wildlife officials and were instructed to investigate the report.
"It has been investigated by law enforcement. It is my understanding that they concluded the investigation and took no action," McCarty said in an email.
When asked for the name of the wildlife officer who was contacted, McCarty said he did not have that information and would ask the SRO who spoke to the officer. A spokesperson for the NC Wildlife Commission said the agency was never contacted by the school or the sheriff's office about the incident but would investigate it now.
The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office confirmed it was asked by McCarty to investigate the matter. A spokesperson said King and Stewart admitted the goose was dead but said the bird attacked King, who accidentally killed it in self-defense.
A spokesperson for New Hanover County Schools said on June 27 the district "takes animal rights seriously and condemns any action that could injure an animal." The spokesperson went on to say the matter was turned over to law enforcement for investigation.
When reached Tuesday afternoon, the school system spokesperson said the district is conducting an internal investigation and would release the authorized outcomes of the investigation once it is concluded.
King graduated from Ashley High School in June and committed to play baseball at Brunswick Community College.
Coach Robbie Allen with BCC said the college is waiting for the legal process to finish before making a decision on any possible suspension. Allen added that King still plans to enroll at BCC.
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