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Circus Elephant Goes Berserk, Is Shot After Killing Trainer

August 22, 1994| from Associated Press

HONOLULU — A rampaging circus elephant killed a trainer and injured a groom before she was shot down in the street.

The 21-year-old African elephant named Tyke went berserk just before she was to perform with four other elephants in Saturday's matinee.

Tyke picked up William Beckwith, a groom, and threw him down, then tried to stomp his head. A trainer, identified by a circus official as Allen Campbell, 37, was crushed by the animal as he tried to help Beckwith.

A dozen people were injured as they fled.

The elephant broke through the main exit and led authorities on a chase of several blocks. She was cornered in an industrial area and shot repeatedly until she crumpled to the ground.

Workers from the Honolulu Zoo gave her a lethal injection at the scene.

The carcass was removed with a crane and taken to the state Department of Agriculture for a necropsy. The other elephants were quarantined, said attorney Roy Yempuku, who represents Circus International.

John Cuneo, president of Illinois-based Hawthorne Corp. and owner of the elephants, said Sunday that Beckwith had been working with the elephants for just over a month and likely startled Tyke by walking behind her.

He was in fair condition Sunday at The Queen's Medical Center.

The circus went ahead with its Saturday evening show.

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