A Florida man already on probation for masturbating in public while on a lunch break from his warehouse job is facing a raft of new charges for allegedly depositing eviscerated animal carcasses at a monument paying tribute to those who died in the 2018 Parkland school shooting.
Robert Zildjian Mondragon, 29, has a “disturbing fascination with mass school shootings,” according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Mondragon, who lives in Margate, boasts facial tattoos which “resemble those of Tate Langdon, the character from the television series American Horror Story based on the Columbine High School massacre,” the agency said Friday.
The first incident occurred on July 20, a booking report reviewed by The Daily Beast states. That’s when “a deceased duck… with its chest cavity cut open” was found on a bench within the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School memorial garden, the booking report says.
The garden sits in the front of the school and is used by students to mourn and continue to process the loss of the 17 classmates and teachers gunned down on campus four years ago. There is signage there bearing the number 17, the words “never again,” and “remembered in love 02-14-18,” the date of the terrifying Valentine’s Day killing spree.
On July 21, a “deceased raccoon was located lying on top of the same bench with blood stains and flies surrounding it,” according to the report.
On July 31, a “deceased opposum” was discovered on the memorial bench.
“There was a strong odor emitting from the opossum and it was found chopped up into three pieces with some of the flesh pulled off,” the booking report says.
Investigators reviewed surveillance video from the area and spotted a white Nissan with black rims pulling up to the curb of the memorial garden shortly after 11 p.m. the night before. An “unknown male” then got out from behind the wheel, walked over to the passenger side, and entered the garden. The man stayed for about four minutes before getting back into his car and driving away, according to the booking report.
The same day the opossum appeared on the bench, an alert was put out for law enforcement to look out for the white Nissan. Late that night, a sheriff’s deputy in Broward saw a vehicle matching the description, with an illegal window tint, that was “driving slowly in the area,” the booking report says. The deputy pulled over the Nissan, which was being driven by Mondragon.
“The Deputy observed what appeared to be bird feathers and blood strewn about the front passenger side floorboard,” the booking report states. “The Defendant told deputies that he had a dead bird in his car because he likes the smell and likes the metal and blood smell that emit from the dead animal.”
Mondragon was arrested on Aug. 4. His phone placed him at the MSD memorial garden at the same time the white Nissan was seen there on video, according to the booking report.
Detectives obtained warrants to search Mondragon’s car, home, cellphone, and social media accounts. In one photo the Broward Sheriff’s Office says they uncovered, Mondragon can be seen holding a dead duck with its breastplate sliced open. In another, detectives say they saw a dead raccoon on the floorboard of Mondragon’s car.
“[F]urther investigation revealed Mondragon’s obsession with school shooters, both real and fictional,” the Broward Sheriff’s Office said in Friday’s news release. Detectives 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, as well as slang terms for killing cops.”
Two weeks before the end of the school year, detectives say they found evidence indicating that Mondragon “walked the path the MSD school shooter took from the high school to Walmart on Feb. 14, 2018.”
Reached by phone, Mondragon’s lawyer, Andrew Coffey, told The Daily Beast that his client “had a very, very difficult and troubled childhood.”
“He is currently a victim in [an unrelated] case here in Broward County,” Coffey said. “We understand the serious nature of the offense, and we’re exploring all of our options.”
The Parkland school shooting has prompted others to act out in highly unusual ways. As The Daily Beast first reported in July, James Catalano, 61, was arrested by FBI agents at his Fresno home for allegedly bombarding gun safety advocate Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was killed in the massacre, with hundreds of hateful emails calling his late child a “slut,” a “cunt,” and “human waste.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is “pursuing possible federal charges against Mondragon,” according to the Broward Sheriff. Mondragon is being held without bail on eight counts including violating his probation and disfiguring a tomb or monument.