*Deonne Dickerson, 33, and Michelle Gregg, 32, the parents of the toddler who crawled his way into the Gorilla World exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo and plunged 15 feet into the murky water, have advised the public to donate money to the zoo in the gorilla’s name.
Harambe the gorilla was shot by the zoo’s dangerous animal response team after he grabbed hold of the boy and handled him like a rag doll. While many believe the beloved primate was merely protecting Isiah, 4, his parents say they are thankful that zoo officials killed the animal.
In a statement released by the family Wednesday, Gregg wrote: “We continue to praise God for His grace and mercy, and to be thankful to the Cincinnati Zoo for their actions taken to protect our child. We are also very appreciative for the expressions of concern and support that have been sent to us. Some have offered money to the family, which we do not want and will not accept. If anyone wishes to make a gift, we recommend a donation to the Cincinnati Zoo in Harambe’s name.”
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Meanwhile, a recording of mom’s 911 call was released on Wednesday, in which she can be heard pleading for help while repeatedly shouting at her son: “Be calm!”
“He’s dragging my son! I can’t watch this!” the woman said in the 911 call. Witnesses say the boy repeatedly begged his mother to let him swim with the gorillas, but she told him no. While Gregg was distracted by her other children, Isiah crawled under a railing, over some rocks, through some bushes and fell into the moat, where the 450-pound gorilla stood protectively over him.
Another 911 caller, an unidentified woman, can be heard urging others at the scene to “try and calm down” and “be quiet,” to avoid agitating the gorilla.
“He slammed the baby into the wall,” the woman told a dispatcher. Moments later, she added: “He’s taking the baby into the cave… He’s dragging him from one end to the other. Oh my, God… He’s flinging the child around.”
The boy reportedly suffered minor injuries, and the family said he “is still doing well.” His parents said they continue to “praise God” and also are thankful to the zoo “for their actions taken to protect our child.”
According to Cincinnati.com, “Police have wrapped up their investigation without recommending charges against the mother.”