A gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden has been shot and killed after a 3-year-old boy fell into one of the zoo's enclosures. The 17-year-old gorilla named Harambe dragged the boy around for ten harrowing minutes until he was finally shot and killed by one of the zoo's animal keepers, CNN reports. Bystanders stood above and watched in horror as the 400 pound animal played with the child.
Some of the incident was captured in the video above by a bystander (warning: some viewers may find it to be disturbing). As Harambe drags the young child through the moat that ringed the exhibit, the boy's mother could be heard telling him that she loved him repeatedly while trying to keep him calm as authorities assembled to handle the situation. WLWT reports one witness, Kim O'Connor, heard the boy told his mother just prior to the incident that he wanted to go into the water, to which she replied, "No, you're not, no, you're not."
The zoo's director, Thane Maynard, later defended the shooting in a statement. "It's a sad day all the way around," he said. "[The zoo's security] made a tough choice. They made the right choice because they saved that little boy's life. It could have been very bad."
On social media, however, many have decried the gorilla's demise as a senseless death and have targeted the child's mother for bad parenting.
So don't blame the gorilla or the kids. Blame the parents for the whole situation. I know that child traumatized for life.— bb. (@enso_bb) May 29, 2016
That gorilla was patting that boys back like, "listen fella, your mama is stupid and careless."— RN (@DopeEthiopian) May 29, 2016
A child climbs into a gorilla exhibit at the zoo. I have questions, not for the zoo or the gorilla, but for the parents.— Goldie Taylor (@goldietaylor) May 29, 2016
The gorilla pulled the child closer when people started screaming. BETTER PARENT.— black jew (@A5HYE) May 29, 2016
How do you not pay attention to your kid long enough for him to climb through barricades & fall into a gorilla exhibit... #Harambe— beth grabDAMN (@elizabug789) May 29, 2016
A gorilla lost his life over bad parenting. Somebody call @peta— $teezus (@DXMTHEGXD) May 29, 2016
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden did not immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.