Todd Scherer, who had worked as an assistant trainer and a groom in recent years on the Nebraska racing circuit, was found dead Thursday morning on the backstretch of Fonner Park, the victim of a shooting. He was 62.
Scherer trained from 1981 through 1994 and won 60 races in his career.
Two individuals have been arrested for their alleged role in the murder. Logan Hunts Horse, 20 of Wounded Knee, S.D., has been charged with first degree murder and two counts of use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. On Friday, it was reported that a 16-year-old male had also been arrested for his alleged role in the murder and charged with robbery, accessory to murder and accessory to use of a weapon to commit a felony.
According to television station KNSB, police have reported that Scherer was hit with a baseball bat and shot in the torso. Hunts Horse and the boy then took Scherer’s wallet which was planned prior to the shooting, according to police.
“It appears the victim and suspects knew each other and this was not a random attack,” Grand Island Nebraska Police Department Captain Dean Elliott told the station.
The Grand Island police and fire departments responded to calls and arrived on the Fonner backstretch at 10 a.m. local time. Upon arrival, they found Scherer dead with an apparent gunshot wound. The police found Hunts Horse asleep in a tack room in the barn where Scherer died and arrested him. A gun, believed to the be the murder weapon, was found with Hunts Horse.
Fonner Park CEO Chris Kotulak said that Scherer had arrived at Fonner the morning of the murder and would have likely found work as an assistant trainer or a groom.
“It is horrifying news that Todd Scherer, who was such a popular person in our Nebraska Thoroughbred industry, has been wickedly taken away from us,” Kotulak said. “Many of us grew up with Todd, including myself, and he was typically associated with good times at the racetrack. He was also known as a very dedicated and knowledgeable horsemen.
“I have visited with some of his family members, and they are understandably devastated. Fonner Park management, staff and our horsemen express our sympathies to his family.”
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, Scherer, the Nebraska native had worked at tracks in his home state and elsewhere for more than 45 years. According to the paper, Scherer worked for Steve Asmussen in 2006 and brought Storm Treasure (Storm Boot) to the paddock for that year’s GI Kentucky Derby.
“I’ve never been connected to anything like this,” he told the Journal Star in 2006. “This race represents history to me, after watching it so many times as a kid growing up.”