Ohio Prosecutor Will Not File Charges Against Parents of Boy Who Fell Into Gorilla Habitat

Young visitors view a bronze statue of a gorilla and its baby surrounded by flowers outside the Cincinnati Zoo’s Gorilla World exhibit June 2, 2016, days after a 3-year-old boy fell into the habitat and officials were forced to kill Harambe, a 17-year-old silverback gorilla.
John Sommers II/Getty Images

Updated Monday, June 6, 1:15 p.m.: Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Deters has decided that there will be no charges filed against the parents of a boy who fell into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla habitat, according to ABC News.


Hamilton County, Ohio, Prosecuting Attorney Joe Deters is expected to announce his decision Monday on whether to bring charges against the family of a 3-year-old boy who fell into the gorilla habitat at the Cincinnati Zoo, resulting in zoo officials’ decision to shoot and kill the silverback gorilla, the Associated Press reports.


Deters is scheduled to speak at a news conference at 1 p.m. EDT to discuss the results of the case. According to CNN, Cincinnati police reviewed the case, focusing on the actions of the boy’s family. A police spokesperson told the network that officers would determine whether charges needed to be brought forward and that the results would be discussed with the prosecutor’s office.

CNN notes that the boy’s parents cooperated with the police.

The accident, which occurred over the Memorial Day weekend, forced a special response team to fatally shoot the silverback gorilla, Harambe, after zoo officials determined that the child was in grave danger. The decision to kill the endangered animal has been met with polarizing views on social media, with many blaming the parents for the actions that had to be taken, and demanding justice for Harambe.

The Cincinnati Zoo said that the incident was the first of its kind in Gorilla World’s 38 years of operation. The exhibit is expected to be reopened Tuesday with a higher barrier; the boy reportedly scaled the barrier May 28 before falling several feet into the habitat, according to AP.

The child was treated at the hospital after the incident, with police saying that he had scrapes on his head and knee, AP notes.


Last week, authorities released 911 recordings that showed the panic that ensued after the boy fell into the habitat.

“He’s dragging my son! I can’t watch this!” a woman can be heard saying in the 911 call. She can also be heard shouting to her son, “Be calm!”


Read more at the Chicago Tribune and CNN.

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