Police investigate circumstances around death of gorilla

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A crowd holding signs says they want to celebrate the gorilla Harambe's life.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The Cincinnati Police Department is investigating the "facts and circumstances" surrounding a 3-year-old boy falling into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo, which led to the animal being shot to death to protect the child.

The Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office said today that police will meet with prosecutors after their investigation is complete to discuss possible criminal charges.

In a statement, police said “this review is only regarding the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation or safety of the Cincinnati Zoo.”

Cincinnati police said over the weekend that no charges were planned. However, spokeswoman Tiffaney Hardey said police are reviewing the matter and continuing to gather information, according to the Associated Press.

A federal investigation is also planned it was announced Tuesday.

Tanya Espinosa, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, said Tuesday that it would be looking into the incident for any violations of the Animal Welfare Act, according to the Associated Press.

Some people have said there should be child endangering charges against the parents while others want the zoo held responsible.

A petition calling for the child's parents to be investigated has drawn more than 336,000 supporters.

More than 112,000 people have signed an online petition to create a law to hold zoo visitors responsible for the well-being of endangered animals.