Texas authorities have arrested a 17 year old Hispanic Male, for repeatedly shooting and killing an adult Bald Eagle with a high powered pellet rifle. Police said that a witness reported seeing three males standing on private property near the base of a tree where an American Bald Eagle had nested for the past few years. The witness told officers that one of the men was armed with a rifle.
After deputies arrived, the witness reported that the teen identified as Orlando David Delgado and two friends returned to the area and one of them pulled a feather from the eagle’s body. The three subjects then fled the scene in a white van.
Later the trio was stopped and the 17-year-old reportedly admitted to police that he had shot the bird with a high-powered pellet rifle. The Dallas Morning News reported that the bird did not die after the first shot, so it was shot several additional times. The Bald Eagle was known to local residents to have been nesting in the Houston neighborhood for several years.
Under Federal law, The 1972 amendments increased civil penalties for violating provisions of the Act to a maximum fine of $5,000 or one year imprisonment with $10,000 or not more than two years in prison for a second conviction. Felony convictions carry a maximum fine of$250,000 or two years of imprisonment.
But a spokesperson for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said they had declined to prosecute Delgado for murdering the national symbol because of his age. Meanwhile, State Game Warden H.R. Volschenk of Texas Parks and Wildlife said Delgado would be charged with hunting without a landowner’s consent, a class A misdemeanor.
“I watched the eagle for over five years and thought it was my responsibility to just stand guard over the eagle, where no none would take it away or (have any) disregard of it,” Dale Jozwiak told the Dallas Morning News.