Graphic body camera video captured the moment a police officer shot and killed a tiger in a Florida zoo after it attacked a maintenance worker – who was heard screaming “I have to die!” in a shaky 911 call.
River Rosenquist, 26, is now facing possible criminal charges of entering an unauthorized area of the Naples Zoo, where the tiger, named Eko, squeezed his jaw on his hand, ABC News reported.
The worker, who works for a third-party contractor, was either trying to pet or feed the 8-year-old Malaysian tiger on Wednesday when it grabbed his arm and pulled him into the house, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
The disturbing footage shows the bloody Rosenquist screaming in pain as a deputy kicks the cage in a desperate attempt to get the beast to release the worker, The Sun reported.
But after failing to scare Eko off, the deputy shoots the tiger, who retreats to the back of the enclosure and later dies.
Rosenquist was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, where he was listed in fair condition, according to the US Sun.
In a recording of his 911 call posted online by the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, the worker is heard telling the sender that he was sad and scared that he was about to die.
“I’m in Naples Zoo! I’m being attacked by a tiger,” he shouts in a loud voice, the sender failing for a woman.
“I’m being attacked by a tiger! Help, thank you! Please! Please! Help please! I have not much more!” he shouts as the sender tells him that rescuers are on their way.
“Hurry up! He will tear my arm off!” Rosenquist continues in the call, which captured the nauseating sounds of the attack.
“You have to shoot it! You have to shoot it, please!” he pleads in desperation.
Rosenquist, a contract employee at HMI Commercial Cleaning, was part of a crew cleaning the bathrooms and gift shop at Naples Zoo in Caribbean Gardens, Naples News reported.
Police and zoo officials said he must have pruned a 4.5-foot fence and approached the cage before being crushed, according to the news media.
The sheriff’s office said Thursday it is working with state and federal authorities to investigate the “serious encounter” and determine if Rosenquist will be charged with criminal charges, ABC News reported.
The worker may have petted or fed the tiger, “both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities,” the sheriff’s office said, according to the store.
“Initial reports suggest the tiger grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it into the enclosure after the man crossed an initial fence barrier and stuck his arm through the enclosure of the tiger enclosure,” it added.
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a statement that “the deputy did everything he could in that situation and he ultimately made the only possible decision he could to save this man’s life.”
In a statement, the zoo said it plans to set up an endangered animal fund in Eco’s name, The Sun reported.