In what’s hopefully our last update regarding this whole gorilla scandal, the parents of the little boy who made his way into the gorilla enclosure will NOT be charged with a crime.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the decision Monday. He says the child’s mother had three other children with her, and she was attending to them when the 3-year-old “just scampered off.”
The Cincinnati police had investigated the family’s actions in the incident May 28.
A 17-year-old western lowland silverback gorilla, named Harambe, was shot to death in May after a 4-year-old boy crawled through a barrier and landed in the moat at the Gorilla World habitat at the zoo around 4 p.m.
The child was walking and splashing in the water before the gorilla picked him up and dragged him around the enclosure for about 10 minutes, zoo Director Thayne Maynard said.
The 400-pound gorilla was “slamming the child into the wall,” according to Cincinnati police reports on the incident. Witnesses said the child was screaming as he was being dragged.
The zoo’s dangerous animal response team decided to kill Harambe because the boy was in immediate danger and a tranquilizer has a delayed effect, Maynard said.
“It seemed very much … to be a life-threatening situation,” the zoo director told WCPO. “They made the right choice. It could have been very bad.”
Two other gorillas in the exhibit were called back inside by zoo staff, and Harambe was shot dead. A Cincinnati Fire Department report stated the gorilla was “violently dragging and throwing the child” when they were called, and that the boy was between the gorilla’s legs when the endangered animal was shot, WLWT-TV reported.