Authorities Investigate Siesta Key Star’s Alleged Hammerhead Shark Shooting Captured on Film

 

After the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) confirmed they are investigating a disturbing video of shark being dragged behind a boat at high speed, they are now acknowledging a second allegedly brutal video is under investigation.

The new video shows a hammerhead shark being shot with a gun off the side of a boat by man who appears to be Siesta Key star Alex Kompothecras. (As with the previous video, the FWC is not naming any suspects under investigation.)

In the video, a hammerhead shark is caught by a man with a fishing rod. Another man then lifts the shark slightly above the water’s surface and directly fires two shots from a handgun into the animal’s gills. Blood pours from the shark as the shooter laughs.

Despite the Commission’s decision not to share names, many outlets — including the nearby Bradenton Herald — have pointed out the shooter is wearing a red Make America Great Again hat and long-sleeved gray shirt — the same outfit Kompothecras, 22, wore while posing with a dead hammerhead shark in a since-deleted photo he shared on Instagram.

“The FWC and the State Attorney’s Office would like to formally thank the many individuals that have provided information and expressed concern over the numerous videos and images that have been seen over social media involving individuals and wildlife,” the Manatee County State Attorney’s Office and the FWC Division of Law Enforcement told PEOPLE in a statement. “We share your concern, and we are committed to conserving Florida’s natural resources. FWC law enforcement investigators and State Attorneys are diligently working toward a swift and lawful resolution to this case. These investigations are complex, and both the FWC and the State Attorney’s Office appreciate the public’s understanding and patience. We take these incidents seriously, and this investigation is moving forward.”

The agency also confirmed that the use of powerheads, explosives, chemicals or the discharge of firearms to kill or harvest marine life is prohibited in state waters, though people can shoot them in federal waters further from shore. It is unclear where this incident took place.

“It is too early to speculate as to what violations took place in these incidents,” said the FWC Division of Law Enforcement. “However, the FWC would like to state that that the lack of respect shown for our precious natural resources shown in this video is disheartening and disturbing, and is not representative of conservation-minded anglers around the world.”

In addition to the shark-shooting video, which has been deleted from his Instagram, there are also photos of Kompothecras with deer and alligators he seemingly killed while legally hunting and another of him and a friend with a fish being force-fed beer.

“There are images of me and I feel horrible,” Kompothecras told PEOPLE last week, without confirming whether he was the shooter in the video. “I am embarrassed and it won’t happen again.”

“I’ve made my share of bad decisions and I feel horrible, but all I can say is that I would not make those decisions again,” he added. “I was being stupid, but I’ve grown from that. It’s an eye-opener for me because it’s made me think long and hard about things I’ve done, and I’ve learned from that. This has all been a shocking experience.”

Reps for MTV have not responded to several requests for comment by PEOPLE about the shark-shooting video.

Last week, a spokesperson for the network addressed the shark-dragging video, telling PEOPLE: “We’ve spoken to Alex and many others at length, and it’s clear that he was not on the boat nor played any role in this incredibly disturbing incident. We hope the serious threats unfairly being made against Alex and the other cast members — for something they had absolutely nothing to do with — stop.”

After the shark-dragging video went viral, Kompothecras told PEOPLE he was “absolutely horrified” and had no connection with it — despite the fact that his friend Michael Wenzel was one of the three men seen on the tape. The reality star claimed he’s never been on Wenzel’s boat and does not believe he was in the same city as Wenzel when the video was shot.

Still, Kompothecras said he’s still received death threats from critics online.

“I got some horrific comments,” he said. “My mom took it the hardest. She sobbed for three days in a row because she was scared for me. I couldn’t even go outside to walk my dog. It’s been hectic and scary.”

“It would be one thing if it was something I’d done and I’d gotten caught but this is something I am 100 percent against,” he said in relation to the shark-dragging video. “I’ve been fishing for 15 years in Sarasota and I’m very respectful of the profession. I love the water. I consider it my backyard and I would never consider doing something like that. I don’t condone what he did and I was horrified by it.”

The series, which premiered last week, chronicles the lives of Kompothecras and his friends in an affluent island community just southwest of Sarasota, Florida. In July, a Facebook page boycotting the show was created and a protest was planned for the local premiere party. After death threats were directed at cast members, the premiere was canceled, but the cast gathered to celebrate in a private home.

from PEOPLE.com http://people.com/crime/siesta-key-star-alex-kompothecras-authorities-investigating-alleged-hammerhead-shark-shooting-video/

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