CINCINNATI (AP) – An Ohio prosecutor says there will be no charges against the family of a 3-year-old boy who got into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla exhibit, leading to the fatal shooting of an endangered gorilla to protect the child.
Below is a statement from the family of the child involved in the incident the Cincinnati Zoo, in response to the prosecutor’s decision:
The family is very pleased with this decision; it is what we expected. This is one more step in allowing us to put this tragic episode behind us and return to our normal family life. We extend thanks to all of those who have been praying for us and who have supported us through this trying ordeal and praise to God for His mercy and grace.
The family has declined to comment.
The zoo says it was the first such breach in Gorilla World’s 38 years of existence, but the exhibit will reopen Tuesday with a higher, reinforced barrier. The boy apparently climbed over the barrier May 28 before falling about 15 feet into a shallow moat.
A special response team shot and killed the gorilla, 17-year-old Harambe, after concluding the boy’s life was at stake.
The boy’s family has said he is doing well at home after being treated at a hospital. Police said he had scrapes on his head and knee.
Police released 911 tapes last week that highlighted the confusion and panic in the moments when the boy plunged into the gorilla exhibit.
“He’s dragging my son! I can’t watch this!” a woman says in the 911 call. As she pleads for help, she shouts at her son repeatedly: “Be calm!”
The police report states that witnesses said the gorilla initially appeared to be protecting the child, but after onlookers began screaming, he became “agitated and scared” and began dragging the child.
The boy’s family has expressed gratitude to the zoo for protecting his life.