Three men went on a drunken rampage at Devil’s Hole in Death Valley National Park, killing a nearly-extinct pupfish and leaving vomit and beer cans behind.
In the surveillance video above, you can see three men pull up to the gate in an off-road vehicle and make their way into the restricted area. The men shot at the security system, and left beer cans and vomit in their wake. At least one man traipsed through the waters of Devil’s Hole where the endangered pupfish reside, likely killing at least one specimen. He also left a pair of boxer shorts behind in the water.
The caption for the video above reads:
At around 7:20pm on Saturday, April 30, three men in an OHV drove off-road around a gate at the Devils Hole parking lot. They discharged a firearm at least 10 times, shooting locks on two gates, a motion sensor on the security system, and several signs. One man swam in Devils Hole and left his boxer shorts behind in the water. Alcohol was involved; three beer cans were left behind and one man vomited.
The dead fish was one of only 115 specimens in Devil’s Hole, the only natural habitat left for the pupfish. The population varies from a low of about 100 in the winter to a high of about 500 in the summer.
“A necropsy is being performed on the pupfish to determine whether the vandals’ actions may have caused the death of this member of an endangered species,” park officials said.
Ileene Anderson with the Center for Biological Diversity added, “Devil’s Hole pupfish have been teetering on the brink of extinction for years. The last thing they need are these idiots running amok in the last place on Earth where they still survive.”
The National Park Service originally offered a $5000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the three men. The Center for Biological Diversity chipped in another $10,000, upping the total reward to $15,000.
Days later, the men were identified as 29-year-old Steven Schwinkendorf of Pahrump, 35-year-old Edgar Reyes of North Las Vegas and 26-year-old Trenton Sargent of Indian Springs. The three men are facing a laundry list of charges, including conspiracy to commit a crime, killing of an endangered species, destruction of property, trespassing, destruction of habitat and an ex-felon possession of a firearm.
We’ll update this space as the case unfolds.
Updated May 12, 2016