Officials on Tuesday said they have a possible break in the deaths of dozens of peacocks on the Palos Verdes Peninsula after a witness reported a man in a Mercedes-Benz shooting one of the birds with a pellet gun.
Officials released a sketch of the suspect, seen driving a silver Mercedes sedan. He allegedly stopped at about 8:20 p.m. July 9 in the 27000 block of Eastvale Road and fired from the driver's seat, killing a peacock that was standing in a driveway.
More than 50 of the exotic birds have been killed or injured in the last two years in the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Rolling Hills Estates areas. Some of the killings were accidental, but a significant number were apparently intentional, prompting an investigation by animal control and law enforcement officials.
The peacocks — imported to the Palos Verdes Peninsula a century ago — are a rustic part of life for many in the upscale suburb, but the birds have detractors who complain about their noisy, aggressive disposition.
The biggest complaints about the birds are that they peck at reflections on cars and scratch paint when perched on the hoods. Their calls can be loud and sharp, and droppings are common nuisance.
It doesn't help, detractors contend, that residents feed the peacocks, discouraging the birds from leaving the area to forage for food.
For decades, the city and surrounding peninsula communities have tried to keep the peace through regulations, education programs and behavior modification for the birds.
But two years ago the situation turned violent and peacocks started turning up dead, killed with arrows, bullets and slingshots, authorities said.
The man in the July 9 incident was described as white, 50 to 60 years old, with receding gray hair. He was wearing a white-collared shirt and aviator-style sunglasses.
Anyone with details about the suspect is urged to call Cesar Perea, director of SPCA-LA Animal Protection Services, at (323) 730-5300, Ext. 272. To remain anonymous, call the animal cruelty tip line at (800) 540-7722.