INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — The father of an Indianapolis Colts safety was arrested and charged after prosecutors say he shot and killed a bald eagle in Pennsylvania.
According to federally filed court documents, Rodney Thomas Sr., identified as the father of NFL safety Rodney Thomas II by the New York Post, was charged and indicted by a Pittsburgh federal grand jury after they claim he violated the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
The indictment, filed Tuesday, accuses Thomas of “knowingly or with wanton” taking a bald eagle in mid-May by shooting and killing it with an air rifle in Mount Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania.
“Taking” a bald eagle, according to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act, is pursuing, shooting, shooting at, poisoning, wounding, killing, capturing, trapping, collecting, molesting, or disturbing the bird.
Thomas Sr. has been charged with a federal misdemeanor for violating the act, Nexstar’s WTAJ reports. He is facing a maximum total sentence of up to one year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
The eagle was one of two that had been nesting in the area for nearly two decades, the New York Post reported. Residents told the outlet they had named the bird “Sam,” inspired by the character in Disney’s Muppet series.
Thomas II and the Colts reportedly declined to comment on the incident to the Post.
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