Prosecutor to announce decision on Cincinnati Zoo charges Monday

Prosecutor to announce decision on Cincinnati Zoo charges Monday

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters is expected to announce Monday whether charges will be filed in connection with a 3-year-old boy wandering into a Cincinnati Zoo gorilla exhibit.

Earlier this week, Cincinnati police turned their investigation into the incident over to Deters' office.

Deters said his office would review the case and announce whether charges were warranted.

Police said they investigated the parents of the child who fell into the gorilla enclosure Saturday and had to be rescued by a team who fatally shot Harambe, a 400-pound western lowland silverback gorilla.

Authorities have 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.

Video shows the 17-year-old gorilla dragging the boy through the water.

Zoo officials have said they had to to put Harambe down for the child's safety. They said a tranquilizer wouldn't take effect fast enough, and the gorilla could become agitated in the meantime, increasing danger to the child.

An 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 has been closed since the incident.

When the exhibit reopens on Tuesday, a new 3.5 foot barrier railing will surround it, zoo officials announced Thursday.

It has wood beams at the top and on the bottom with knotted rope netting. The previous barrier 3-foot barrier fence passed multiple safety inspections by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, according to zoo officials.

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