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Police Launch Probe Into Gorilla Incident At Cincinnati Zoo

Posted: Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – 11:23 AM

Police in Ohio launched an investigation Tuesday into the weekend accident that prompted zoo officials to kill a prized gorilla, after a young child fell into its enclosure.

The authorities will probe whether criminal charges should be filed in the case, the prosecutor in Hamilton County, site of the zoo where the incident occurred on Saturday, said in a statement.

“The incident at the Cincinnati Zoo involving the young child who fell into the gorilla enclosure is under investigation by the Cincinnati Police Department,” Prosecutor Joseph Deters’s statement said.

“Once their investigation is concluded, they will confer with our office on possible criminal charges,” he added. “When the investigation and review are complete, we will update the media.”

Workers at the Cincinnati Zoo shot and killed the 400-pound silverback gorilla — a 17-year old male named Harambe — after the four-year-old boy fell into its enclosure.

The toddler had crawled through a barrier and fell into a moat at the gorilla exhibit.

The incident has become a cause celebre in the United States, where video images played on a recurring loop on television, showing the massive primate handling the child sometimes in an apparently tender manner, other times roughly, dragging him though the moat.

The zoo director on Monday defended the killing of the rare animal, which is on a list of critically endangered animals.

Cell phone footage of the incident, which has gone viral, has elicited a barrage of condemnation from those who believe the animal should not have been killed.

There have also been harsh words for the child’s mother, whom online critics blamed for not supervising her son more closely.

sg/grf

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

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