Prosecutors to investigate child's fall into gorilla habitat, reports say

Police in Cincinnati are investigating how a child was able to fall into a gorilla's zoo enclosure, eventually leading to the shooting of a 17-year-old gorilla in an effort to rescue the child.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that police are investigating the case, which has many up in arms on social media, WCPO posted on its Twitter account.

Zoo officials killed the gorilla to rescue a 3-year-old child after he passed through a barrier and across a buffer, then fell into the enclosure's moat.

The gorilla, Harambe, possibly agitated by the screams of onlookers, at first didn't seem to hurt the boy, witnesses told CNN.

But when onlookers started to scream, it appeared that the gorilla wasn't going to let the child go.

Explore>>Read More: What they are saying about the death of Harambe the gorilla

"From what we saw, (the child) could have been killed at any second. (Harambe) threw him 10 feet in the air, and I saw him land on his back. It was a mess," said Bruce Davis, a visitor to the Cincinnati Zoo, CNN reported.

Kimberley Ann Perkins O'Connor told CNN that she heard the boy joking with his mother about going into the moat. The boy was in the water a few minutes later.

Zoo officials decided to shoot, rather than tranquilize, the gorilla because they said the dart could have made the animal angry and might have taken too long to kick in.

An online petition on is seeking justice for Harambe by asking for criminal charges against the boy's mother. It has more than 334,000 signatures.