Police search for suspect they say killed seagulls in Laurel parking lot

Police in Laurel need the public's help identifying a driver who killed at least 10 seagulls in a strip-mall parking lot after luring the birds with popcorn.

Laurel Police Department Cpl. Laura Wilson, leading this animal cruelty investigation, told FOX 5 the suspect purchased cheddar popcorn from the Dollar Tree at the Laurel Plaza Shopping Center on Fort Meade Rd. Police believe the incident happened between 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Saturday morning, January 4th.

One Sunday, FOX 5 learned the lone surviving seagull recovering from the incident died shortly after it was taken to a Howard County animal sanctuary.

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"I was shocked. I heard the call come out through our dispatchers and you have that moment, you're like, ‘Is this really a call? Am I going to this right now?' And I get there and the sight of it was worse than it came out on the radio to," said Cpl. Wilson, "so it was very upsetting, disheartening. It made me angry – angry too."

Police say the suspect fled. As investigators continue to look into surveillance video, police are asking the public – anyone who may have witnessed this, a car driving erratically or witnessed something out of the ordinary at the plaza during that time – to contact the City of Laurel Police Department. Tips can be sent to LPDtips@laurel.md.us.

"My biggest concern is that this is where he's starting. That, you know, you see all the documentaries. You hear all the stories. People start with animals. Is this person going to do something bigger? Is he going to move onto humans? And even if he doesn't it's just – it's evil. It's sickening and I just want to find this person," said Cpl. Wilson.

Wilson told FOX 5 the suspect may be looking at state and federal charges.

The animal rights organization, PETA, is offering up to $5000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.

Stephanie Ramirez reporting in Laurel, Md.