LONG BEACH, Calif. - Four teenagers were arrested for allegedly killing two sharks that were dragged from their aquarium tanks and tortured to death, police said.
The vandals broke into the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach between 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. Monday when it was closed, police said.
A 3-foot-long nurse shark named Michelle was found dead in bushes near her tank while an 18-inch bamboo shark was tossed onto an exit structure, said Perry Hampton, director of animal husbandry.
Also killed was a cow-nosed ray, a relative of the string ray, which appeared to have been stabbed and pounded with a pole, Hampton said.
"We were all very sickened by what happened to these animals," aquarium spokeswoman Cecil Fisher said after Monday's discovery at the popular Shark Lagoon exhibit.
The unidentified teens, ages 13 and 14, were caught while allegedly trying to break into the aquarium a second time Monday night, police said. All four were in custody Tuesday night.
"There was nothing that indicated gang affiliation (or) anything against the animals," said police Officer David Cannan. "It was just them doing what they did."
Michelle was one of the first animals in the exhibit when she was introduced in 2002 and was about 5 years old but could have lived to be 30 and reached 9 feet.
Long Beach is about 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles.
- Unbelievable. Feed them to the sharks, or death penalty. How anyone could do something like that I'll never understand.