What do Witnesses Say?
Here’s an eye witness account floating around comments on Facebook of the mother’s so-called negligence…
“I saw the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo today. But not just me, I had seven kids ages 3-9 who also witnessed the event. The little boy’s mother was on my left side with an infant in a stroller. The boy slipped away in between multiple adults who I told to grab the little boy and he jumped straight into the gorilla pit before anyone could think. The gorilla jumped down into the pit shortly after, at this time I grabbed my 7 kids and her baby in the stroller and pinned them against the wall. At some point the gorilla came up out of the pit and was dragging the boy around in the open. We exited because our babies could see this and heard the gunshot shortly after we stepped outside the gorilla exhibit. All I’m saying is that could’ve been my 3 year old. Do not judge that mother. He just slipped away. On the way to my car with my babies, a red bird flew above us and sat on a branch in front of us. We had a protector. Thanking Jesus the boy is ok. Prayers for his distraught mother and multiple siblings and also all who witnessed the event. One of the worst things I’ve ever seen in life.”
Another witness, Deidre Lykins, says on Facebook,
My family and I decided to go to the zoo yesterday after visiting my neice at Cincinnati Childrens hospital. For those of you that have already heard, there was a terrible accident there yesterday. And since every news media has covered this story, I don’t feel bad telling our side. This was an accident! ! A terrible accident, but just that! My husband’s voice is the voice talking to the child in one of the videos. I was taking a pic of the female gorilla, when my eldest son yells, “what is he doing? ” I looked down, and to my surprise, there was a small child that had apparently, literally “flopped” over the railing, where there was then about 3 feet of ground that the child quickly crawled through! ! I assumed the woman next to me was the mother, getting ready to grab him until she says, “Whose kid is this? ” None of us actually thought he’d go over the nearly 15 foot drop, but he was crawling so fast through the bushes before myself or husband could grab him, he went over! The crowed got a little frantic and the mother was calling for her son. Actually, just prior to him going over, but she couldn’t see him crawling through the bushes! She said “He was right here! I took a pic and his hand was in my back pocket and then gone!” As she could find him nowhere, she lookes to my husband (already over the railing talking to the child) and asks, “Sir, is he wearing green shorts? ” My husband reluctantly had to tell her yes, when she then nearly had a break down! They are both wanting to go over into the 15 foot drop, when I forbade my husband to do so, and attempted to calm the mother by calling 911 and assure her help was on the way. Neither my husband or the mother would have made that jump without breaking something! I wasn’t leaving with my boys, because I didn’t trust my husband not to jump in and the gorilla did just seem to be protective of the child. It wasn’t until the gorilla became agitated because of the nosey, dramatic, helpless crowd; that the gorilla violently ran with the child! And it was very violent; although I think the gorilla was still trying to protect, we’re taking a 400 lb gorilla throwing a 40 lb toddler around! It was horrific! The zoo responded very quickly, clearing the area and attempting to save both the child and the gorilla! The right choice was made. Thank God the child survived with non-life threatening, but serious injuries! This was an open exhibit! Which means the only thing separating you from the gorillas, is a 15 ish foot drop and a moat and some bushes! ! This mother was not negligent and the zoo did an awesome job handling the situation! Especially since that had never happened before! ! Thankful for the zoo and their attempts and my thoughts and prayers goes out to this boy, his mother and his family.
Another witness, Brittany Nicely, told the Cincinnati Enquirer,
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the little boy in the bushes past the little fence area. I tried to grab for him. I started yelling at him to come back. Everybody started screaming and going crazy. It happened so fast.
The mother of the child left this Facebook status that I’ve heard she has since taken down due to the extreme level of hate mail she has received…
From Heavy.com: A woman who has a son with Gregg’s husband also posted about the incident on Facebook on Sunday, saying she got a call from them after the incident: