AN incident at the Brookfield Zoo has prompted a closure with customers told to shelter in place after reports of a ‘potential threat.’
The zoo is located about 45 minutes from Highland Park, where a mass shooting yesterday claimed seven lives and injured more than two dozen others.
The Brookfield Zoo is providing updates via its social media accounts.
“Late this afternoon Brookfield Zoo received notice of a potential threat at the zoo,” one update from the zoo reads.
“The zoo is now closed however many zoogoers are still sheltering in place on site.
“Brookfield Police Department is working with Brookfield Zoo Police to actively investigate the situation throughout the park and surrounding area.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we ask that guests on site remain sheltered in place until law enforcement provides the all clear.”
The zoo sent out an initial tweet just after 6pm local time alerting guests of the situation.
“ATTENTION: Out of an abundance of caution, visitors at Brookfield Zoo right now are asked to shelter in place and follow guidance by emergency responders and police on site. This is a developing situation, and we will give you updates as they become available.”
Payton Cariato, who was at the zoo with her family, exited The Swamp exhibit to find the zoo “very empty.”
“We heard a man yelling at us and we turned around to a ton of armed officers. We quickly walked over to them and one officer asked us to go to our car and stay in there,” Cariato told The US Sun.
Cariato says she and her family were led towards their car by a security guard, who then got called on his walkie talkie and led the family in a different direction.
“He then led us into a building. He told us to watch the windows and not open the doors for anyone,” Cariato said.
“We found a bathroom in there and locked our selves in there. It was just the 5 of us in the building,” including Cariato, her mother, brother, and two sisters.
“We waited in there for about 30 minutes and called 911 to let them know we were in there.
“The same security guard came and unlocked the bathroom, and led us to another security guard who drove us to our car.”
Cariato said it was about an hour total between the time they left the exhibit and the time they got into their car.
“Everyone in our family is safe, just realty shaken up,” she said.
Video from the scene shows numerous cop cars lined up outside of the zoo.
News of the possible threat comes on the heels of the Highland Park mass shooting that claimed seven lives and injured dozens more.
Just this morning, following yesterday’s shooting, Brookfield Zoo tweeted a photo of two lions with the caption: “Hold your loved ones close.”
The zoo is located in the Chicago suburb of Brookfield, Illinois.
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