As the country voices various opinions about what went down Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo, it’s difficult to imagine how events unfolded when a 450-pound gorilla dragged a toddler.
Now, police have released the recording of the 911 call from the boy’s frantic mother, 32-year-old Michelle Gregg.
“My son fell in the zoo exhibit at the gorillas,” she can be heard telling a dispatcher. “There’s a male gorilla standing over him. I need someone to contact the zoo, please.”
As the 17-year-old male silverback gorilla, Harambe, began dragging the three-year-old through the water moat of the exhibit, Gregg can be heard telling her son to “be calm, be calm.”
“He’s dragging my son! I can’t watch this! I can’t. I can’t watch!” she told the dispatcher.
Chaos erupted when the boy somehow fell into the gorilla enclosure and onlookers began to scream and shout.
“Hurry! The gorillas are out,” one distraught mother said when she called 911 after leaving the scene with her young children.
Another woman called to report, “a baby fell into the gorilla cage and everybody’s screaming. Everyone has to calm down and be quiet.”
She then added, “He’s dragging him from one end to another, oh my God!”
The boy’s family released a statement on Wednesday thanking those that have been supportive and shown concern since the unfortunate zoo incident.
Others have shamed the family for being negligent, especially because zoo officials decided to shoot and kill Harambe for the safety of the boy instead of using a tranquilizer, which they said would have taken too long to be effective on the gorilla.
The boy suffered minor injuries.
“If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name,” the family stated.
How the child fell into the gorilla enclosure has left many bewildered. But after a police investigation, authorities are not recommending criminal charges against the boy’s mother.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will now review the investigation as per the police department’s request and is expected to release his determination by Friday.
“I will read everything and decide what we’re doing,” he said Thursday.
Listen to the call from his mother below and two calls from witnesses at the zoo during the incident.
(Photo: Jeff McCurry/Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via The Cincinatti Enquirer via AP)