The parents of the 3-year-old boy who entered a gorilla’s exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, causing the response team to kill the animal, will be investigated as part of the incident.
The incident in question occurred on Saturday, when the boy was dragged across a moat by the 450-pound gorilla. The animal, named Harambe, was fatally shot by the zoo’s response team following a 10-minute encounter. The mother of the boy, who did not sustain serious injuries, was with him the time he fell into the moat.
The name of the boy’s mother is Michelle Gregg. She has four children with father Deonne Dickerson, who has a criminal record to his name, as reported by Daily Mail. The charges filed against him over the last decade include burglary, firearms offenses, drug trafficking, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and kidnap.
However, in his recent pictures on Facebook, he seems to have turned his life around to become a proud father of four.
Dickerson, who was not there when the child fell into the moat, is employed as a sorter at a Cincinnati industrial equipment supplier. Gregg works at an administrator at a Cincinnati pre-school.
Cincinnati Police Department said they are evaluating “the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident,” further adding that the zoo is not their center of focus, as it falls under the United States Department of Agriculture’s jurisdiction.
Kate Villanueva, from Erlanger, Kentucky, who also started Justice for Harambe, said, “I do think there’s a degree of responsibility they have to be held to. You have to be watching your children at all times.” As many as 29,000 people have joined the page.
Critics have called for Gregg and Dickerson to face negligence charges, as reported by TMZ. Tiffaney Hardy, spokeswoman for the police, said, “After the review, we will determine if charges need to be brought forward,” police spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardy said. “If it is determined charges need to be brought forward, we would then discuss it with the Hamilton County prosecutor’s office.”
While Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard said that the boy was not under attack, he described the situation as “life threatening” and said the gorilla was “agitated,” “disoriented,” and was “behaving erratically.”
“Looking back we would make the same decision,” Maynard said during a press conference on Monday. The animal was about six times stronger than a man, he added. “This is an animal (that) with one hand, I have seen take a coconut and crush it.”