Graphic body camera video captured the moment a police officer shot and killed a tiger at a Florida zoo after it attacked a maintenance worker – who was heard screaming “I’m going to die!” in a chilling 911 call.
River Rosenquist, 26, now faces possible criminal charges for entering an unauthorized area at the Naples Zoo, where the tiger, named Eko, clamped its 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 Malayan tiger Wednesday when it grabbed his arm and yanked him into the enclosure, according to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.
The distressing footage shows the bloodied Rosenquist screaming in agony as a deputy kicks the cage in a desperate attempt to get the beast to release the worker, The US Sun reported.
But after failing to scare Eko off, the deputy shoots the tiger, which retreats to the back of the enclosure and later dies.
Rosenquist was airlifted 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 dispatcher that he was sorry and afraid that he was about to die.
“I’m at the Naples Zoo! I’m being attacked by a tiger,” he shrieks in a high-pitched voice the dispatcher mistakes for a woman.
“I’m being attacked by a tiger! Help please! Please! Please! Please help! I don’t have much longer!” he yells as the dispatcher tells him rescuers are on their way.
“Please hurry! He’s going to rip my arm off!” Rosenquist continues in the call, which captured the sickening sounds of the attack.
“You gotta shoot it! You gotta shoot it, please!” he pleads in desperation.
Rosenquist, a contract worker with HMI Commercial Cleaning, was part of a crew that cleans the bathrooms and gift shop at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, the Naples News reported.
Police and zoo officials said he must have scaled a 4.5-foot fence and approached the cage before being mauled, according to the news outlet.
The sheriff’s office said Thursday it is working with state and federal authorities to investigate the “serious encounter” and determine whether Rosenquist will be hit with criminal charges, ABC News reported.
The worker was possibly petting or feeding the tiger, “both of which are unauthorized and dangerous activities,” the sheriff’s office said, according to the outlet.
“Initial reports indicate that the tiger grabbed the man’s arm and pulled it into the enclosure after the man traversed an initial fence barrier and put his arm through the fencing of the tiger enclosure,” it added.
Sheriff Kevin Rambosk said in a statement that the “deputy did everything he could do in that situation and he ultimately made the only possible decision he could in order to save this man’s life.”
In a statement, the zoo said it plans to create a fund for endangered animals in Eko’s name, The US Sun reported.