The parents of the 4-year-old boy who slipped into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo this weekend, leading to the killing of 17-year-old gorilla Harambe, have a lengthy criminal past, RadarOnline.com has learned.
Deonne Dickerson and Michelle Gregg have furiously defended their parenting skills since the incident, with 32-year-old Gregg writing on Facebook: "God protected my child until the authorities were able to get to him. My son is safe and was able to walk away with a concussion and a few scrapes... no broken bones or internal injuries."
But according to the Daily Mail, "criminal filings against Dickerson stretch over a decade and include burglary, firearms offences, drug trafficking, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and kidnap."
In more recent years, Dickerson seems to have turned his life around, working as a sorter at a Cincinnati industrial equipment supplier. Gregg currently works as the administrator for a local pre-school.
It didn't take long for animal activists and social media users to slam the couple, holding them responsible for the death of the 450-pound male Western Lowland gorilla.
Later, Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard said that though the boy was not under attack, it was a "life-threatening situation," in which the gorilla was "agitated," "disoriented," and "behaving erratically."
But in cell-phone footage capturing the scene, others noted that Harambe seemed to be guarding the little boy in the gorilla moat, even holding his hand at one point.
The zoo's Gorilla World has been closed since the incident.