Silverback Mountain Gorilla, Democratic Republic of Congo

Source: by Marc Guitard / Getty

An investigation is already underway to examine how the Zoo handled the situation, especially regarding the Gorilla’s death.


CINCINNATI, Ohio –The Hamilton County prosecutor announced the mother of a 3-year-old boy, who fell in the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo, will not face charges.

Zoo officials shot and killed a rare silverback gorilla named Harambe after the child entered the enclosure, fearing for the boy’s safety.

“By all account, this mother did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and she turned her back,” Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters said. “If anyone doesn’t believe a 3-year-old cannot scamper off quickly, they have never had kids, because they can.”

Video footage shows Harambe standing next to the child and dragging him through the water. The zoo has staunchly defended its decision to shoot Harambe as necessary to protect the child.

“I might have been dead that day because I would have gone in there. And I’m not much of a match for that animal, unless I’m armed,” Deters said. “I just think we’re lucky that the zoo did what they had to do.”

The boy was not seriously injured, but much of the scrutiny in the aftermath of the incident has fallen on his family.

“Had she been in the bathroom smoking crack and letting her kids run around the room, this would be a different story,” Deters said.

Authorities have said the boy’s mother was with the child when he slipped past a fence and into the zoo’s Gorilla World exhibit.

One witness said she overheard the boy telling his mother he was going to get into the moat.

“The little boy himself had already been talking about wanting to go in, go in, get in the water and his mother is like, ‘No you’re not, no you’re not,’ ” said Kimberley Ann Perkins O’Connor, a witness.

The mother admonished her son to behave before she became distracted by other children with her, O’Connor said.

“Her attention was drawn away for seconds, maybe a minute, and then he was up and in before you knew it, she said.

For days, the Internet was barraged with think pieces on the incident — some condemning the boy’s parents. Deters said the mother has received death threats.

They became the center of criticism as calls for criminal charges mounted. An online petition seeking “Justice for Harambe” received more than 500,000 signatures.

Police questioned the family

Last week, the Cincinnati police said they were reviewing the incident with a focus on the actions of the boy’s family.

A police spokeswoman told CNN that officers would determine if charges needed to be brought forward, which would then be discussed with the prosecutor’s office.

The parents had cooperated with police and were evaluating whether they would seek legal representation, family spokeswoman Gail Myers said in a statement last week.

The family declined donations, saying it was something “we do not want and will not accept.”

They asked that the gifts be directed to the Cincinnati Zoo “in Harambe’s name,” in a statement through Myers last week.



Article Courtesy of CNN and WJW Fox 8 News Cleveland

Picture Courtesy of Getty Images

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