Las Vegas Sun

July 17, 2018

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Wildlife habitat’s camera caught 3 men chasing exotic bird prior to decapitation

Two Cal law students face February court date for incident; third man unknown

Eric Cuellar

Eric Cuellar

Justin Teixeira

Justin Teixeira

Map of Wildlife Habitat

Wildlife Habitat

3555 Las Vegas Blvd South, Las Vegas

A 14-year-old exotic bird named Turk ran through its manmade home Friday morning at the Flamingo hotel's Wildlife Habitat, seemingly scurrying from three males on its trail.

The bird and the men then go out of a surveillance camera's sight, according to an arrest report released Monday. Minutes later, the three men emerge without the bird.

Metro Police allege the camera footage shows the helmeted guinea fowl's last few minutes of life, before two University of California, Berkeley law students killed and decapitated it. Officers arrested Eric Cuellar, 24, and Justin Teixeira, 24, Friday at the hotel after a witness reported the incident to security.

The witness told security she saw two men, later identified as Cuellar and Teixeira, walk out of bushes in the habitat with the dead bird, according to the arrest report. Teixeira, who was holding the bird, allegedly threw it toward Cuellar and said, "I (expletive) killed wildlife," the report states.

Security officers located the bird's remains on a walkway, near where surveillance cameras captured the bird running when pursued by three men, the report states. Its decapitated head lay on nearby rocks.

Security officers located Cuellar and Teixeira walking through the property based on the witness's detailed description of their clothing, the report states. The witness then positively identified both suspects, police said. The identity of the third male in the surveillance video is unknown.

Cuellar and Teixeira immediately requested lawyers when detectives attempted to interview them, the report states.

The Clark County District Attorney's Office has not yet filed formal criminal charges against Cuellar and Teixeira. They have a return date to Las Vegas Justice Court set for Feb. 11.

Turk, valued at $150 to $175, was the Wildlife Habitat's only helmeted guinea fowl, according to the arrest report.

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