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Four Marines charged with felony vandalism in San Diego Zoo gondola incident

Gondola cars on the "Skyfari" at San Diego Zoo Global, Dec. 17, 2017.
Matthew Bowler
Gondola cars on the "Skyfari" at San Diego Zoo Global, Dec. 17, 2017.

Four active-duty Marines who allegedly rocked a gondola back and forth at the San Diego Zoo's Skyfari Aerial Tram, temporarily shutting down the ride and stranding riders, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony vandalism charges.

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All four defendants, who each remain out of custody on $25,000 bail, are based out of Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, but were in San Diego training at MCAS Miramar at the time of the Jan. 29 incident.


The ride was stopped as a precaution, leaving around 100 guests stranded in the air for about two hours while emergency personnel evacuated the gondolas.

Marine officials identified the men as Sgt. Jacob Dean Bauer, 23; Cpl. Brandon Gregory Cook, 21; Lance Cpl. Brayden Stone Posey, 20; and Lance Cpl. Marquette Alexander Williams, 21.

It's uncertain what punishment the men might face from the Marine Corps, though Maj. Mason Englehart of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW) said in a statement that, "3d MAW is committed to being good neighbors to the San Diego community. Marines found in violation of any law or directive will be held appropriately accountable in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice."

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