Just Another Guy with Opinions

Chimp Attacks Woman – Shot by Police

Posted by shadmia on February 17, 2009


Travis the 200-pound, 14-year-old chimpanzee is dead. He was shot by the police after going berserk and mauling a woman and attacking others, including his owner. It brought a sad and violent end to the famous chimp who starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola. He even appeared once on the “Maury Povich Show” and took part in a television pilot.

Sandra Herold,70, and her husband Jerome (now deceased) got Travis when he was only three days old. They treated him like their own child. At the time of his death the 14-year-old chimp was toilet trained, dressed himself, took his own bath, ate at the table and drank wine from a stemmed glass. He brushed his teeth using a Water Pik, logged onto the computer to look at pictures, and watched television using the remote control. He even had his own room.

It all began around 3:30 p.m. when Sandra Herold called her friend, Charla Nash, 55, to come and help her with Travis. He had been misbehaving. He had taken the keys to the car and was trying to open car doors, which he apparently did to indicate he wanted to go for a ride. Before Charla arrived Herold was able to coax Travis back into the house.

Travis had had a bout with Lyme disease – which can cause panic attacks, paranoia, personality changes and mood swings in people. Herold gave Travis some tea laced with Xanax, a prescription drug used to treat panic and anxiety disorders, to calm him. However when Charla Nash drove up to the house Travis ran out and began to attack her.

“It was a very serious attack. She suffered a tremendous loss of blood, terrible facial injuries, body injuries and hand injuries,” Stamford police Capt. Richard Conklin said.

When Herold saw what was happening, she called 911, grabbed a butcher knife and ran outside to help her friend. Herold had to stab her beloved, longtime pet numerous times in an effort to save her friend who was being brutally mauled by the chimpanzee. Travis ran away and started roaming on Herold’s property as police arrived. Officers set up security so medics could reach the critically injured woman lying on the ground.

“The EMS personnel were reluctant to go in (to treat the injured woman) because there was an enraged chimpanzee on the loose,” Conklin said.

As Charla Nash was being treated, the chimpanzee returned and went after several of the officers, who retreated into their cars. Travis tried to open the passenger door of a cruiser, smashing the side-view mirror. When he couldn’t get it open, the chimp went around to the driver’s-side door and opened it. The officer in the cruiser had no choice but to shoot the chimp. Travis, who was shot multiple times in the upper torso, then fled. Officers followed the trail of his blood down the driveway, into the open door of the home, through the house and to his living quarters, a room filled with ropes and a “zoo-like cage”. The chimp was already dead when the officers arrived.

Travis Body

He’s been raised almost like a child by this family,” Conklin said. “He rides in a car every day, he opens doors, he’s a very unique animal in that aspect. We have no indication of what provoked this behavior at all.”

The injured woman, Charla Nash, was hospitalized in “very serious” condition at Stamford Hospital. The injuries are “life-changing, if not life-threatening,” Mayor Dannel Malloy said. The chimp brutally attacked her face and hands in particular.

Travis’s owner, Sandra Herold, 70, is also hospitalized. She may have had a mild heart attack, reported those at the scene but Stamford Hospital is not releasing any information about her condition. Two police officers also suffered injuries.

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One Response to “Chimp Attacks Woman – Shot by Police”

  1. Joe said

    a CNN commentator made a good point about the impossibility of ever truly domesticating a wild animal, no matter how much a person might want it to to be domesticated

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