Brookfield Zoo visitors and staff safely exit after ‘potential threat’ investigated

About 7:30 p.m., an “all-clear” was given, according to a statement from the Chicago Zoological Society.

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Brookfield Zoo South Gate entrance.

Brookfield Zoo South Gate entrance.

Chicago Zoological Society

Visitors and staff safely exited after being asked to shelter in place Tuesday afternoon at Brookfield Zoo while authorities investigated a potential threat.

About 7:30 p.m., an “all-clear” was given, according to a statement from the Chicago Zoological Society. Zoo officials said they made the request to shelter in place “out of abundance of caution” after receiving notice of a potential threat at the 216-acre zoological park in the west suburb.

About 5:15 p.m., West Central Dispatch received a call from a crisis intervention line from a caller saying “she was going to do harm to herself and guests at Brookfield Zoo,” according to zoo officials.

“Brookfield Police Department is working with Brookfield Zoo Police to actively investigate the situation throughout the park and surrounding area ... we ask that guests on site remain sheltered in place until law enforcement provides the all clear,” the zoo said in an earlier statement posted on Twitter.

Authorities were conducting a “sweep the premises and are releasing zoogoers, building by building. If you are on site, please remain patient until law enforcement release you. We will share more information as soon as we receive it,” the zoo updated shortly after.

“Our main priority is the safety of our guests, staff, and animals,” said Mike Pendola, chief of police for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo. “We are extremely grateful for the partnership and incredible collective response we received to this situation. We find comfort in knowing that our well-trained police officers and partners provide for a very safe environment at Brookfield Zoo.”

A multi-jurisdictional investigation is ongoing.

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