Three koi are dead, and the suspected killer is in jail on six charges, including beating his 67-year-old mother, authorities said Friday.
Harout Krikorian, 41, was arrested about 10 p.m. Thursday at the Park Plaza Apartments at 9701 Dallas St.—across from Parkway Middle School in north La Mesa.
He is being held on $250,000 bail on four felony charges and three misdemeanors, including inhumane transport of animals.
Police Capt. Dan Willis said a family member called the police, and officers responded to the 95-unit complex at 10:01 p.m.
“The suspect slapped his mother about the face,” Willis said. “She suffered complaint of pain about her face, but [declined] medical treatment.”
Willis said Krikorian threw three of the mother’s koi fish onto the ground and killed them, and “that is the basis of the animal abuse charge.”
Krikorian’s mother, who was not named, is a longtime tenant of the complex, built in 1970 or 1971, said apartment managers.
Linda Larner, head manager, said Krikorian’s mother lived with an adult daughter in a two-bedroom unit, but wasn’t aware of how the koi were kept.
Larner called the daughter Friday afternoon to confirm that her mother was OK. She was, but declined to speak to a reporter.
Koi, a form of carp, are treasured in Japan, where “champions” can exceed $100,000 per fish. But U.S. breeders charge as little as $4 for specimens under 4 inches. One seller in Denver charges $3,000 for 2-foot “select butterfly” koi.
Willis didn’t know the size or age of the fish killed Thursday night. Koi are reputed to live more than 200 years, but the average life span is said to be 25 to 35 years.
“Koi get along well with goldfish or other tropical fish; as long as the other fish aren’t aggressive or small enough to eat,” said a Gardena koi seller. “Koi can be kept in aquariums as well as ponds. Aquariums need good filtration and aeration systems.”
Krikorian—listed as 5 feet 11 and 240 pounds at his booking early Friday—is set for arraignment at 9 a.m. Jan. 6 at East County Superior Court in El Cajon. He also faces charges of felony elder abuse, threatening death and burglary.