TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man who authorities said had a “disturbing fascination with mass school shootings” was arrested after he allegedly left several dead animals on a memorial in Parkland.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, 29-year-old Robert Mondragon left several dead and disfigured animals at the MSD Memorial Garden, which is located outside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
The investigation began on July 20 after a school crossing guard found a dead duck with its chest cavity cut open on a bench at the memorial garden. A day later on July 21, the school crossing guard found a dead raccoon on the same bench.
On July 31, a dead opossum was found on the bench by a deputy.
Using surveillance video, authorities were able to identify Mondragon’s car, which had been spotted parking near the memorial for several minutes the night before the dead opossum was found.
When a vigilant deputy saw Mondragon’s car driving slowly in the area, he conducted a traffic stop.
The sheriff’s office said Mondragon was the only person in the car at the time. Next to him were bird feathers and blood on the front passenger side floorboard. Mondragon told the deputy he had a dead bird in his car because he likes “the metal and blood smell that emits from the dead animal.”
Mondragon was let go that night, but his whereabouts were forwarded to detectives who arrested him several days later for violating his probation for battery, indecent exposure, and a risk protection order.
Search warrants obtained during an investigation into the dead animals uncovered a photo on Mondragon’s phone of him holding a dead duck with its chest cavity cut open and another photo of a dead raccoon on the floorboard of his car.
Detectives said further investigations found that Mondragon had an “obsession with school shooters, both real and fictional.”
“Mondragon’s facial tattoos resemble those of Tate Langdon, the character from the television series American Horror Story based on the Columbine High School massacre,” the sheriff’s office said in a release.
The investigation also found text messages about school shootings, and internet searches about school shooters, how to break into steel doors, shootings involving multiple victims, pipe bombs, and slang terms for killing cops.
Deputies said further evidence, captured two weeks before the end of the 2021-2022 school year, showed that Mondragon walked the same path Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz took from the high school to Walmart on Feb. 14, 2018.