What began as a normal day on the lake turned into tearful reunion Thursday for a news photographer and his camera.
A Nikon camera reeled in by a fisher Wednesday turned out to be the same one thrown into the lake by assailants as they attacked a Daily Press photographer two months prior.
Shelly Hirst was out fishing at a Hesperia lake when she hooked what she thought was a "big branch," but upon reeling it in, she discovered it was a camera. She found the SD card still worked and took to social media, hoping to reunite the photos with its rightful owner.
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"When I saw there were photos, I thought 'Oh, sweet.' I put it up on Facebook just to see if anyone knew anything," Hirst said.
In the post, Hirst included a picture of the camera, adding there were over 1,700 photos on the card and that was lost likely around May 10, which was the last dated photo.
A friend later told her about attack on photographer David Pardo in the same location on the same day. She got in touch with him and on Thursday, July 14, the two met and Hirst returned the camera.
Pardo was attacked by two men Tuesday, May 10, after refusing to delete photos of a woman he took at the lake while on assignment. He said he was legally allowed to take photos of her on public property.
He reported that one of the men struck him in the jaw before stomping on his camera and throwing it into the lake.
"He was very shaken up by the whole ordeal, almost in tears," Hirst said, "I felt really bad for him, but at least he gets his pictures back."
Even though the camera is destroyed, Hirst hopes Pardo can finally get some closure and appreciate all the hard work he has done for his job.
She is also shocked over the incident that brought them together.
"Like who does that?" she said. "To attack someone for just taking pictures of you — crazy."
Steven Andrew Mancillas, 20, and Erika Ailyah Ochoa, 21, were arrested on Tuesday, May 17 and face felony charges of vandalism and assault.
"I just think the whole thing is crazy, that I found someone's camera and there's this whole story about it," Hirst said.