Victim In Chimpanzee Mauling Fights For Her Life
Woman's Hands Bitten Off; Owner Stabs Chimp Several Times Before Police Gun Down 200-Pound Animal
Beast Turns Into Monster: Tries To Get At Cops In Cruiser
A 200-pound chimpanzee named Travis attacked and critically injured a 55-year-old woman in Stamford, Conn., on Monday. CBS 2 HD has learned a lot more about the animal, who even had a history on television.
The chimpanzee, considered a fixture in the north Stamford community, turned into a monster on Monday afternoon, attacking a 55-year-old woman after she showed up at the home of the animal's owner, at 241 Rockrimmon Road.
"He bit both of her hands off and the cop told me he just kept eating her. It's terrible," said Lynne Mecca, a friend of the victim.
The 200-pound animal was a celebrity in Stamford. It appeared in TV commercials. People would stop to take photos with "Travis the chimp" as he was called. But that all changed when it attacked Charla Nash, a friend of the animal's owner.
"The owner went into the kitchen, retrieved a long butcher knife and stabbed the chimp several times to assist her friend," Stamford Police Capt. Richard Conklin told CBS 2 HD. The animal escaped into a wooded area, only to return when police arrived.
"The chimpanzee knocked the mirror off and tried to access the [police] car by opening the door," Capt. Conklin said.
As the animal tried to enter the vehicle, the officer in the driver's seat shot it several times in the chest.
Travis again escaped, but after a lengthy search ended inside the home, "a blood trail was followed to a room where it was found expired from the gunshot wounds," Conklin said.
Travis grew up in the house he died in. His aggressive action did not come as a surprise to one animal expert.
"Well, aggressive behavior in chimpanzees is very normal actually," Dr. E'Lise Christensen said. "So when they're in an environment filled with people, they don't have any other targets other than people to be aggressive towards."
The news of a lengthy and brutal attack came as a surprise to some. Neighbors told CBS 2 HD it wasn't uncommon to see Travis walking around the neighborhood, sometimes unleashed.
"He was friendly, always friendly," one neighbor said.
But not to everyone.
"Oh yeah, he didn't like me at all," said Don Mecca, who also said he feared for his life around the animal. "Dangerous, 100 percent dangerous … he hated me."
Ironically, CBS 2 HD has also learned that the same chimpanzee escaped from his owners' SUV back in 2003 and caused havoc in downtown Stamford before police put down the then-175-pound animal with a tranquilizer gun.