Circus elephant shot in Miss. drive-by shooting

    8:09 AM, Apr 10, 2013   |    comments
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    TUPELO, MS (CNN) -- An elephant with the Ringling Brothers Circus is expected to make a full recovery after getting hit by a bullet in a drive-by shooting.

    She was shot Tuesday while the crew was setting up in Mississippi. Police say leads are slim and they don't have a suspect.

    Good news about carol, a 39-year old Asian circus elephant shot Tuesday morning in Tupelo, Mississippi. Rob Lang, general manager of Ringling Brother "Gold Edition" says, "Never in the 143 years of Ringling Brothers Circus has anything like this ever happened. So, a lot of disbelief, a lot of disappointment."

    The Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey "Gold Edition" arrived Sunday night at BancorpSouth Arena. Crews worked all day Monday to set up this outdoor compound.

    It's where circus employees live and where animals are housed. Carol and two other Asian elephants were inside a covered tent when she was shot. Capt. Rusty Haynes says, "The elephant has sustained at least one bullet wound between her ear and, I guess you would have to consider it, the base of her neck area."

    Haynes says a white or silver Ford Explorer, he's calling a "vehicle of interest" was seen behind the arena when the shooting happened. He says, "It's, you know, it was a drive-by shooting."

    Arena executive director Todd Hunt says this is a "black eye" for Tupelo. He says, "It doesn't represent the population as a whole, I'm convinced. And it certainly doesn't represent our facility and our community."

    Tuesday a veterinarian with the circus arrived to care for Carol, who weighs almost 8,000 pounds and has been with in the circus all her life.

    While workers set the stage for a four day run, people are shocked about what happened to this big top icon. Resident Sherri Bernier says, "It's atrocious. I can't believe that they drove by and shot an elephant. Especially one that's here to entertain our children and adults alike."

    More than $1,600 in reward money is being offered to find the person who shot carol. Vets say she will be okay.

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