NEW YORK, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Police shot and killed a 200-pound (90-kg) chimpanzee that had once starred in television commercials after the ape nearly killed its owner’s friend and attacked a police cruiser.
The victim, Charla Nash, 55, was in very critical condition from the biting and mauling attack on Monday, said Captain Richard Conklin, a spokesman for police in Stamford, Connecticut, a New York City suburb. Her injuries were life threatening, he said on Tuesday.
Owner Sandra Herold, 70, tried to stop her rampaging pet, Travis, by stabbing him with a butcher knife and hitting him with a shovel but the chimpanzee fended off the attack and then stormed a police car that had responded to the scene, Conklin said.
The ape ripped off the side-view mirror of the police car, banged on the car and opened the driver’s side door, leading the officer to shoot the chimp several times with his pistol, Conklin said.
The animal fled the scene and police found a blood trail leading to its living quarters inside the house, where he died.
The chimp, just short of 15 years old, was taking medication for Lyme disease, which in humans can cause nerve damage and confusion in its later stages.
Travis had once starred in television commercials for Coca-Cola and the clothing retailer Old Navy, Conklin said.
Citing neighbors, local media said the chimp was normally well behaved and engaged in human activity such as surfing the Internet and watching baseball on TV. He reportedly sat at the dinner table, ate expensive steaks and drank wine, brushing his teeth afterward. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Bill Trott)
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