DENVER -- A family cat shot to death in a Denver neighborhood--and now police are investigating.
It happened Wednesday morning in the 7300 block of E. Princeton Ave. At the Whispering Pines West townhomes.
McKenna Billingslea, 6, is fast in a game of tag.
But she can't outrun the sadness of what happened to her cat, Kaya.
"As soon as I walked up to her, I saw a hole in her stomach," says Erika Leonard, the family's babysitter.
She found Kaya lying dead under an apricot tree next to the Billingslea townhome Wednesday morning.
Shot once with a 22-caliber handgun.
"You can't comprehend somebody actually doing something like this. It's sickening."
McKenna's mother, Diana, is devastated--especially for her daughter.
"The cat was McKenna's world. I don't know what we're going to do without her, because it was her comfort, her security blanket."
The family told police who they ‘think’ did it.
He's a neighbor who lives in the same complex who has complained several times about the roaming cat.
"I just told her the truth. That there are bad people out there that do bad things and hopefully we'll be able to make this right.
The shooting has neighbors shaken.
"It makes me nervous. I don't even want to let my kids out."
Friends of the family give McKenna a "stuffed" cat for the real one she lost.
"We're really sorry about what happened."
They've lost a beloved, furry family member--but hope to gain justice and for the killer--a conscience.
"That this person understands he caused the biggest pain to my children today. And that he understands that he may not like cats, but this cat was like a child to me."
The cat will be sent to Colorado State University for a necropsy.
The family got two free kittens from Craigslist Wednesday night.
They've also set up a fund in Kaya's memory for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or ASPCS.
You can donate at any Chase bank. The account number is 3039299820.