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Child Upgraded To Fair Following Gorilla Attack

Two children are among the injured, after a 350-pound gorilla escapes from his habitat.
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A child was critically injured when Jabari, a lowland plains gorilla, escaped from his habitat at the Dallas Zoo Thursday afternoon.

Rivers Herd, 3, was upgraded from critical condition to fair on Friday morning. The boy's mother, Keisha Herd, 26, was also in the hospital with minor injuries. Both were bitten and scratched by Jabari.

Rivers' father updated NBC's Matt Lauer on their son's status. "He has a chest tube in right now, from where the gorilla bit him on the side," Rivers' father said. "He also has a couple lacerations near his eyes. He's doing really well. He's talking to us. He asked for something to drink. He was talking to my mother. He told her that the gorilla tried to eat his head. He's doing a lot better than we would have expected."

Also injured was 39-year-old Sheryl Reichert who was thrown against a wall by the gorilla as she was trying to protect her child. Dallas Deputy Police Chief Daniel Garcia said the victims were bitten and scratched.

Officials said a 350-pound male gorilla went on a rampage after escaping about 5 p.m. The zoo was evacuated and police were notified.

When the animal charged two of the department's tactical officers around 5:30 p.m., getting within 15 feet of them, the officers fired three shots, Garcia said. The animal died.

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"We were forced to put this animal down," he said.

Garcia said the police officers' objective was protecting citizens until authorities could figure out what to do with the gorilla.

"I'm sure that there's a lot of people out here that were very shook up by the fact that you had a huge gorilla running through the premises like that," Garcia said.

According to officials, the situation was too risky to attempt tranquilizing the gorilla.

Diana Gonzalez, a zoo patron, said she saw the gorilla banging on the door of its enclosure, and then it broke. The gorilla then scampered out of the gorilla pit.

Dallas zoo director Rich Buickerood said the primate was an inquisitive 13-year-old Western Lowland gorilla. He said the animal was likely "extremely excited and extremely fearful while it was out."

He said zoo officials are trying to figure out how the escape happened.

The zoo remained closed and locked down Thursday evening.

Investigation Tip Line: (214) 671-0888

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