LAS VEGAS (AP) - Two chimpanzees escaped a Las Vegas backyard
Thursday, with at least one of them jumping on a police car before
officers killed one primate and tranquilized the other, authorities
Police say they had no choice but to kill after the agitated
animals escaped their backyard enclosure about 10 a.m. and started
running through a residential area.
The loose chimps caused a stir in northwest Las Vegas for nearly
two hours, with police warning residents through Twitter not to
leave their vehicles or homes and to avoid the area where the
"dangerous" primates were roaming free.
By noon, the chimps were both stopped. Helicopter video showed
one of the animals lying face down in the middle of a road,
surrounded by animal control and police cars.
"They got out and the police did what they had to do," said
Tony Paolone, who lives on the same street as the chimps.
Landscaper David Plunkett, 36, said he watched a male chimpanzee
jumping on top of a police car with its lights on shortly before
officers shot the animal dead and tranquilized its companion in the
Plunkett had the day off and heard a police helicopter overhead
before he went outside and witnessed the takedown. He said the male chimp approached officers before they shot at it three times, but
the female didn't seem to be aggressive.
Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin said the female has been
returned to a new enclosure at her owner's home. Kulin said the
owner had the proper permits to keep the animals outside Las Vegas
city limits, as well as a license from the U.S. Department of
Officer Marcus Martin told KLAS-TV the chimps were very large
and estimated they weighed 170 pounds or more. Fully grown chimps
can be as much as 5 1/2 feet tall when standing upright.
Chimpanzees have been known to attack people. Two adult
chimpanzees viciously attacked a U.S. student last month after he
entered their enclosure at a primate sanctuary in South Africa.