A father was arrested Friday after San Diego Police say he carried his 2-year-old daughter into the San Diego Zoo’s elephant exhibit.
Police confirmed that at about 4 p.m. officers were called after the man was seen carrying his daughter through two fences and into the enclosure. One of those fences is electrified, according to police.
In a statement, zoo officials said the man, later identified as Jose Navarrete, 25, “purposely and illegally trespassed into a habitat, which is home to our Asian and African elephants.” According to police, the elephants became upset after Navarrete entered the enclosure with his daughter. Seeing the animals upset, he fled the exhibit with his daughter, dropping her on the way out, police added.
Navarrete and his daughter made it out of the exhibit before zoo security could arrive, the zoo said.
Both elephants, and Navarrete and his daughter were not injured during the incident, according to the zoo.
Video of the incident showed the chaotic scene on Friday, as the father and daughter escaped from the enclosure with the elephant charging at the pair. Witnesses could be heard in the background yelling at the dad to get out of the exhibit.
“We were standing right there. We were 20 yards away,” one witness told ABC 10News. “Yelling, ‘dude, what are you doing? Get out of there! Get the baby out! What are you doing? Get out of the elephant enclosure.’ The elephant is screaming and charging him. He’s unaware of what’s going on and barely got out of there with his life and his child’s life.”
Navarrete was booked into jail on child cruelty charges and being held on $100,000 bail. Officers were investigating if drugs or alcohol played a role in the incident.
[via ABC 10News]