(Photo: The Springfield, Mo., News-Leader)
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Officials have confirmed that a senior zookeeper was killed Friday at Dickerson Park Zoo when a female elephant became aggressive.
John Bradford, 62, died when he was attacked by an elephant inside the area at the Dickinson Park Zoo where the elephants are housed, city spokeswoman Cora Scott said.
"It's an extremely sad time for the co-workers at the zoo and at the city," Scott said.
Scott said the elephant's name is Patience. She said multiple employees were with Bradford at the time - per safety precautions - because Patience had an aggressive history.
Patience is a 41-year-old female who had been at the Dickerson Park Zoo since 1990.
Emergency responders were called to the zoo 8:44 a.m. to an area where elephants are housed.
Two ambulances and the Springfield fire department had departed from the scene by about 9:30 a.m. Police remained and were investigating the accident, according to one officer who briefly spoke to the media.
The zoo reported in August that it had three female and two male elephants. But, one of the females, Connie - also known as Pinky -died earlier this month.
Officials at the zoo say it will be open as usual Friday.