(LAS VEGAS) — Two powerful, adult chimpanzees escaped a Las Vegas backyard and rampaged through a neighborhood on Thursday, leaping over backyard walls and pounding on cars before police killed one of the chimps and tranquilized the other.
The Las Vegas neighborhood came to a standstill Thursday morning when two chimps, each standing more than 5 feet tall and weighing more than 150 pounds, broke free from their backyard cage and began to run wild.
The female chimp, Calamity Jane, was subdued with two tranquilizers. The male chimp, Buddy, was shot by a police officer after he charged the cop. No other people were hurt during the ordeal.
Miguel Guiterrez, caretaker of the two chimps, was there when Buddy was killed and says he would have taken the bullet.
“I started screaming at Buddy, ‘Get back, get back! They’re gonna shoot you.’ I wanted to go right with him,” he said, adding, “He was like a human…one of my best friends.”
“It’s crazy. I don’t know why they would shoot,” David Plunkett, a friend of the chimpanzees’ owners said to ABC News affiliate KTNV-TV. “They didn’t have to shoot the chimp. It wasn’t harming anybody. It came out into the street, so they shot it.”
A spokesperson for the Las Vegas Metro Police Department told KTNV that the officer who shot Buddy said he believed the chimpanzee needed to be stopped before he crossed Ann Road into a neighborhood filled with a crowd gathered to see what was going on.
The chimps escaped shortly before 10 a.m. and were on the loose for about 30 minutes. Another one of the chimps’ caretakers blamed a loose hinge on the door of the cage. The caretakers believe the two chimps repeatedly kicked the concrete wall until the door came loose.
Today, Calamity Jane is back in her cage, missing her partner, while the caretakers are missing a member of their family.
“I am tragically sad about Buddy. He was my baby,” said DeRosa. “I loved him so much. I love him more than anything, but I know he’s in a better place.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, CNN
Mayra Cuevas and Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN