Water gun fight destroys pond
KNSD - Vandals damaged an iconic lily pond in front of San Diego, California's Botanical Building over the weekend, according to Balboa Park officials.
A midnight water gun fight, with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people taking part, is believed to have caused thousands of dollars of damage.
"They broke a critical piece of piping that will keep the water flow in the lily pond," said City of San Diego Park and Recreation Director Stacey Lomedico. "It is very likely that we may lose all the lilies in the pond today as well as the fish."
Plants surrounding the pond were also damaged.
The suspects left behind water guns and remnants of water balloons, park officials said. Those responsible face serious charges.
"This is gonna be carried as felony vandalism case because of the high-dollar value associated with plants, the hardscape, the historic fountain on the other side of the park," said Lt. Charles Lara with the San Diego Police Department.
San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders released a statement saying he was appalled at the damage done by people he called "delinquents."
"The damage they did to the century-old lily pond and the mess they left behind is unacceptable," Sanders statement reads. "We will hold those who did this accountable for their actions - which may be criminal - and for every penny it costs to return this area to its original beauty."
The worker said it appeared the vandals had actually jumped into the pond.
Authorities said damages to the pond were reported just before 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
According to an online post, an event dubbed the "2nd Annual Midnight Water Gun Fight at Balboa Park" was scheduled for Saturday night.
The event description instructs participants to "meet at the large fountain in front of the Natural History Museum at 11:45 p.m." and bring their own water guns.
"First squirt will be at the stroke of midnight and then it is a free-for-all of water gun madness," the online post states.
A Facebook event page dedicated to a "Midnight Water Gun Fight" in Balboa Park currently reflects that at least 56 people went to the event and logged their attendance via the Facebook event page.
An event page on Yelp also mentions the water gun fight at Balboa Park, followed by several comments from users discussing damages to the Lily Pond. One user says there were about 2,000 people at the event.
On Sunday morning, crews worked to refill the pond and repair minor damages.
A volunteer effort to help rebuild the pond is also underway.