Police complete criminal investigation into zoo gorilla incident

Police complete criminal investigation into zoo gorilla incident

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The Cincinnati Police Department turned their investigation into the Cincinnati Zoo's gorilla exhibit incident over to the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office for review.

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters will review the investigation, the earliest he will conclude his review would be Friday, the prosecutor's office said.

Police said Tuesday they are investigating the parents of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure and had to be rescued by a team that shot Harambe, the 400-pound western lowland silverback gorilla to death.

Related: How 3-year-old boy got in Cincinnati Zoo gorilla enclosure

Authorities said the investigation will look at the parents' actions leading up to the incident - not the operation of the zoo, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"Once (Cincinnati Police Department's) investigation is concluded, they will confer with our office on possible criminal charges," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced on Tuesday.

The scene at the Cincinnati Zoo unfolded for about 10 minutes. Videos show the 17-year-old gorilla dragging the child through the water.

Zoo officials said they had to put down the gorilla for the safety of the child. A tranquilizer does not take effect quickly enough and the gorilla may have become agitated, zoo officials said.

Separately, on Tuesday, animal protection watchdog group, SAEN, blamed the Cincinnati Zoo for the incident, filing an official complaint to the USDA.

The zoo is open, but the gorilla exhibit remains closed. It is expected to reopen next weekend.

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