A “possible threat” that followed a parade massacre in a nearby suburb was warned about by a zoo just outside of Chicago, and it advised its guests to take cover.
Caller Threatened Brookfield Zoo, Causing Lockdown
Tuesday night, the Brookfield Zoo posted on Twitter that it had taken extreme measures in response to the unknown threat. The facts surrounding the shooting at the zoo are yet unknown, but they occur one day after a shooter opened fire on a Fourth of July parade in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, which is roughly 30 miles from Brookfield. Seven people were killed and over 30 were injured.
After 6 p.m. local time, the zoo said on Twitter that it was advising guests to “shelter in place and obey emergency responders and police on site’s instructions” out of “an excess of caution.”
After an hour had passed, the zoo said on Twitter that it had shut down and was cooperating with the Brookfield Police Department to “aggressively investigate the situation throughout the park and surrounding area.” It urged people to stay indoors.
Just before 7 o’clock, a tweet from Brookfield’s official public safety account stated that the police presence at the zoo was necessary for the protection of visitors and the neighborhood.
Around 7:30 p.m., the Brookfield Zoo reported that “Brookfield Police and Brookfield Zoo Police are continuing to scour the premises and are releasing zoo-goers, building by building.” “If you are already there, kindly wait until law enforcement releases you before leaving. As soon as we have additional information, we will let you know.”
After 8 o’clock in the evening, the Brookfield Zoo tweeted that the zoo had been emptied.
Emergency dispatchers got a call from a crisis-intervention line at around 5:15 p.m. from someone threatening to hurt visitors and themselves at the zoo, according to Zoo Police Chief Mike Pendola, who spoke to NBC station WMAQ-TV.
Although the information from the call was “vague,” it was sufficient for authorities to order a lockdown of the zoo, according to the station, as officers swept the park over the course of the following few hours with assistance from Riverside and Brookfield police
According to the station, authorities later found that neither the caller nor any active threats were present when the call was placed.
At a press conference on Tuesday evening, Riverside’s director of public safety Matthew Buckley informed the media that more than 50 cops from adjacent jurisdictions had responded to the zoo.
He stated that once the zoo was placed on lockdown, officers methodically checked to make sure every building was secure and led guests out.
It was difficult to manage this issue at the zoo, he claimed. “There are obviously many creatures in this place. Some of those creatures can be rather harmful.”
According to Buckley, police and zoo workers collaborated closely to protect the security of cops, those seeking shelter, and the animals.
Police, according to Pendola, have opened an inquiry to track down the alleged female threat maker and file criminal charges against her. According to him, the FBI is supporting the probe.
Pendola stated that “we had a big response of resources” to the call, adding that it may have been a “overabundance of caution” because of the Highland Park incident, which was still fresh in their thoughts.
We already know that the zoo is secure; it is a safe place to visit, he remarked. “We hope the visitors are not alarmed,”
In a tweet, Twitter user @shashankramuk stated that he and his family were at the zoo when the incident started at around 5:15 p.m.
He writes, “We observed armed police officers within the zoo and they requested that we leave immediately.” “We were disoriented as we exited the south entrance while looking for our automobile that was parked somewhere else. Officers deserve praise for leading us to safety.”
In a subsequent tweet, he claimed that there were already approximately 10 police cars at the zoo as he left and that he observed another 10 or so rushing as he and his family were driving away in their car.
The Brookfield Police Department and the Chicago Zoological Society, which runs the zoo, have been contacted by Newsweek for comment.