Mother ‘could face charges’ in gorilla shooting as she says: ‘Accidents happen’

Harambe / via The Telegraph
But the petition said: “This beautiful gorilla lost his life because the boy’s parents did not keep a closer watch on the child. The situation was caused by parental negligence.”

Police in Cincinnati, Ohio said the mother was not currently facing charges but prosecutors could later decide to bring them. Witnesses described seeing the mother with several young children. They heard the boy repeatedly saying he wanted to play with the gorillas.

The boy then climbed through a barrier at the Gorilla World exhibit and fell 12ft into a shallow moat.

Two female gorillas responded to calls from zoo staff to leave the area but Harambe went to the boy and grabbed him.

On a disturbing video taken by tourist Kim O’Connor the boy’s mother could be heard screaming “Mommy loves you! Mommy’s right here. Isaiah be calm” as the 450-pound gorilla loomed over her son.

The boy sat still in the water as the animal touched his hand and back, at one point appearing to help him stand and pulling up his trousers.

Several witnesses said they believed the gorilla was trying to protect the boy.

As onlookers began screaming Harambe grabbed the boy by the leg and ran away.

The ordeal went on for around 10 minutes before Harambe was shot.

Thane Maynard, the zoo’s director, said a tranquiliser dart would not have taken effect immediately, leaving the boy in danger. He added: “It was a a tough choice.”

Harambe had arrived last year from a zoo in Texas.

Jerry Stones, the zookeeper who raised him from a baby in Texas, said he was “heartbrokern”.

Mr Stones added: “He was very intelligent. Very, very intelligent.”