Corpus Christi, TX | KRISTV.COM |Police say chimp grabbed dart gun before being shot to death
AUSTIN -- A 140-pound chimpanzee escaped from a research center by jumping more than 15 feet, snatched a tranquilizer dart gun from an animal worker and threatened police by flailing its arms before an officer shot and killed the animal last month, according to a new report.
Officials said the University of Texas police officer who shot Tony shouted he was going to shoot before firing at the 17-year-old chimpanzee.
Tony's escape and death were detailed in an internal report obtained by the Austin American-Statesman through an open-records request.
The chimpanzee escaped March 12 from his area at the Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research in Bastrop. The center is managed by the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Tony's escape was one of three at the center since November. Another 17-year-old chimp, Jake, got out of his enclosure in November and again this week but was quickly recaptured each time.
Tony got out by bounding 15 feet from a jungle gym and grabbing the top of a corral wall, according to the report. Tranquilizer darts failed to stop him.
According to the report, the police officer, who was not named, saw Tony jump into a truck bed and lunge at an attendant.
"The chimpanzee took the attendant's dart gun away from him and discarded it," the report said.
The chimp either fell off the truck or jumped from it when the truck sped up, according to the report. The officer said Tony started coming toward him.
"The chimpanzee started flailing its arms. The officer shouted at least twice that he was going to shoot," the report said. "In fear for his safety, the officer then fired several times, striking the chimpanzee."
The officer fell backward while firing his gun, but the chimpanzee kept coming toward him, the report said. The officer didn't know how many times he fired at the animal, according to the report, "because the threat was still coming at him."
The officer has since returned to duty, said Wendy Gottsegen, a spokeswoman for M.D. Anderson.
The center said it would tighten security.