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Costa Mesa police searching for suspect after 4 ducks shot, killed at TeWinkle Park

Three of four ducks discovered dead.
Three of four ducks discovered dead Monday in Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park with wounds from a pellet gun. Police are investigating the incident.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)
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Costa Mesa police are searching for a possible suspect in connection with the death of four ducks at a city park who appear to have been shot with a pellet gun.

Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad said in a statement Thursday that police responded to the park earlier this week and found four waterfowl had succumbed to their injuries.

Members of the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach reported one male mallard, two Muscovy ducks named Mr. Chipper and Grace, and one Pekin duck named Darryl were brought to the center Monday shortly after the dead birds were discovered at TeWinkle Park.

An X-ray of a Muscovy duck shows the bird had four bullet wounds.
An X-ray of a Muscovy duck from Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park shows the bird had four bullet wounds.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)

Wildlife technician Jaret Davoy said a parkgoer found the ducks lying on the ground and contacted authorities.

“It was suspected before they came in there was a mass killing event and several ducks had been shot,” Davoy said Thursday. “It wasn’t until we X-rayed them and saw the ammunition inside of them that that was confirmed.”

One X-ray, he continued, showed four metal fragments inside one of the birds. Officials at the center extracted some of the pieces and have been working with Costa Mesa police to see if more information about the type of firearm used could be obtained.

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Two Muscovy ducks near a body of water
Muscovy ducks Grace and Mr. Chipper, alive Sunday evening, were found dead the next morning at Costa Mesa’s TeWinkle Park.
(Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center)

“At this time, we do not have suspect information,” Fyad said in the statement. “This appears to be an isolated incident; however, officers have extra patrols out in that area.”

Fyad further confirmed that the department received no reports regarding any possible foul play or audible gunshots at TeWinkle Park in the day leading up to the gruesome discovery.

Mayor John Stephens said in a statement he was saddened to hear about the incident of animal abuse at one of Costa Mesa’s most popular parks.

“The city is taking measures to prevent this from happening again,” he said, encouraging residents to report any news of such incidents to police so perpetrators can be held accountable.

Debbie McGuire, executive director of the Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center, said in a new release that the resident who brought the matter to the attention of police Monday morning saw the ducks alive and well around 7 p.m. Sunday.

“We are asking members of the public to please come forward if any information is known about the assailant,” McGuire said in the release. “Not only are the lives of wild animals in danger, but also those of us and our loved ones. If [the suspect] were to miss their target, a stray bullet could hit an innocent person or a passing car.”

Anyone who may have information that would assist Costa Mesa police in their investigation is encouraged to call (714) 754-5252.

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