A visitor who recorded the moments after a 3-year-old boy fell into a gorilla exhibit at the Cincinnati Zoo said the ape appeared to be protecting the child before being shot, NBC News reported.
"I don't know if the screaming did it or too many people hanging on the edge, if he thought we were coming in, but then he pulled the boy down away further from the big group," Kim O'Connor, who shot the video, told NBC station WLWT.
According to the video, Harambe, a Western lowland silverback gorilla, nudged the boy toward him before tugging on the back of his pants. In another video, the gorilla stands over the boy on all fours as onlookers shout in the background.
Cincinnati Fire Chief Marc Monahan said Saturday that first responders saw the gorilla "dragging and throwing the child."
Harambe was fatally shot during the rescue. The boy, whose age was misreported as 4 by authorities, was in the enclosure for more than 10 minutes before he was rescued and was taken to hospital with serious injuries.