http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/8254936.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp 2 teens taunted gorilla, zoo says By Mary Mckee;Eva-Marie Ayala Star-Telegram Dallas Bureau DALLAS - A zoo visitor saw two teen-age boys throwing rocks or ice at Jabari the gorilla shortly before he escaped from his exhibit Thursday and attacked three people at the Dallas Zoo, officials said Monday. Mammal curator Ken Kaemmerer said the man told zoo officials that he warned the teens not to taunt the gorilla and was walking away from the exhibit when he heard someone yelling that the animal had escaped. "He just ran," Kaemmerer said. "So he didn't see where the gorilla got out." Officials said the information, which appears credible and came from a hot line created to collect information about the incident, is helpful because it shows what might have provoked Jabari's escape. But it also left the zoo without a solid explanation of how the 13-year-old gorilla got past walls 12 to 16 feet high with moats and electrified wires. Jabari, who injured two women and a 3-year-old boy, was fatally shot by police after he charged at them. "I'm thinking he just got angry enough at being harassed and he either made the climb of his life or a leap and got lucky," Kaemmerer said. In a tape of one 911 call released by authorities Monday, a zoo secretary calmly tells the operator that police are needed. In another call, Dallas resident Enrique DeLeon urgently requests help. "There's a gorilla loose, and it's going after people," he says frantically. "Are you serious?" the dispatcher asks. DeLeon responds, "I'm serious. I swear to God. I am not joking. There's people yelling. It's going after people. ... There's kids in here. Please. ... Please hurry up." In an interview Monday, DeLeon said he and his family were near the meerkat exhibit when they heard banging and screams. DeLeon said he first saw Cheryl Reichert, 39, trying to close a door to the aviary, but the gorilla forced it open and jumped on her. Then DeLeon saw Jabari go after 3-year-old Rivers Heard and his mother, Keisha Heard, 31. "He picked him up like a rag doll and then bit him in the head," DeLeon said. "His mother started hitting the gorilla on the back, but that just made him more mad. He threw young Rivers and then turned around and attacked her." DeLeon said he borrowed a utility knife from a young boy and began cutting the mesh netting of the aviary. The gorilla had left the area, and he told Heard to bring her son out that way. "She was yelling, 'Hurry up! Hurry up!' But I told her she needed to be quiet or the gorilla would come back up," he said. After they were pulled through the netting, a zoo employee armed with a fire extinguisher led them to a nearby barn, he said. DeLeon said he began administering first aid to Keisha Heard while DeLeon's wife, Andrea, attended to Rivers. The paramedics arrived soon afterward, and then three gunshots were heard, DeLeon said. "My wife and I tried to be calm through it, but once everything was over, we just started crying," he said. "It was just surreal, everything we saw." Kaemmerer said he isn't sure whether the zoo will ever be able to figure out how Jabari escaped. He continued to urge witnesses to call the zoo's hot line at (214) 671-0888 and emphasized that officials are trying to figure out what happened, not assign blame. "I would have hoped at this point either through the media or through the hot line we would have gotten something," he said. "What I'm afraid of is the people that saw this or caused this are afraid they're going to be liable." Kaemmerer also responded to questions about why zoo officials with tranquilizer guns could not reach Jabari before he was shot by police armed with safari-style rifles that had been provided by the zoo. At the time of the shooting, Kaemmerer said the zoo's immobilization team had not gone in to capture the gorilla because personnel were still focusing on the first phase of their emergency operation, which is securing zoogoers and evacuating the injured. "The vet or immobilization team will come to our command post, but he doesn't go into action until after all public and staff members are safe and the injured people are removed," Kaemmerer said. "Once we had gotten people out, then we would have gone into the phase of contain and capture," he said. Kaemmerer said that ideally police and zoo officials would have coordinated their plans. But he said the police were probably responding to 911 calls about a raging gorilla. "Unfortunately, the police encountered Jabari and he charged them, and they really had no choice," Kaemmerer said. Zoo officials are awaiting the arrival of the Department of Agriculture's Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, which will conduct its own investigation of the incident, before putting some of the gorillas back on exhibit. Kaemmerer said he hopes to reopen the north portion of the gorilla exhibit before the weekend and display two older gorillas, Jenny and Fubo. Jabari was in the south portion of the exhibit when he escaped.