Grandmother of 3-Year-Old Who Fell Into Gorilla Enclosure Speaks Out

'Zoo didn't need to kill Harambe'
June 2, 2016 1:56 pm Last Updated: June 2, 2016 2:56 pm

The grandmother of the 3-year-old boy who fell into a gorilla enclosure on Saturday at the Cincinnati Zoo gave an interview on Thursday, June 2, saying officials didn’t need to shoot the gorilla.

Valerie Dickerson, 55, told MailOnline in an exclusive that she is saddened by the death of the gorilla, Harambe, telling the paper that the “zoo didn’t need to kill Harambe.”

“For me, I still think they could have gone another route though they said they couldn’t,” she said. “But mainly I just thank God my grandson is okay.”

Until Dickerson, no family member of the boy has spoken about the incident. The family’s only communication to the media is via a spokesperson.

“Everybody’s doing fine. We speak daily,” she said of her family.

She also recalled seeing the now-viral clip of her grandson being dragged through a moat by Harambe. “I had to have some family members come round and kind of compose me. It was devastating to watch,” she told MailOnline.

“We’ll move forward. He’ll receive counseling and life goes on. You just have to think positive thoughts,” she said.

Dickerson said she doesn’t blame the zoo for the incident. “I have never been to that zoo so I really don’t want to place any blame. It was just a freak accident and thank God it turned out okay,” she was quoted as saying.

The paper also spoke with the boy’s great-great-aunt. “He’ll be okay, might be traumatized a little bit from floating in the water, that gorilla turning him over. A big thing like that happening, I’d be traumatized,” Yvonne Dickerson, 76, said from her home in Georgia.

She added that the boy was well-behaved.

“Their mother keeps those children very much in order. Boys play, they will, but she watches her children,” she said.

The parents of the boy are being investigated by Cincinnati officials.

According to CBS News, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters says Cincinnati police have concluded their probe. Deters will make a determination as to whether charges should be pursued on Friday.

A Cincinnati police report identifies the boy’s mother as 32-year-old Michelle Gregg. She works at a preschool, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The paper reported that police didn’t recommend charges against the mother.