Gorilla Saga Brings Back Agonizing Memories for Mom Whose Son Was Attacked in 2004
It's especially difficult for one mom to watch the video of the 3-year-boy who ventured into a gorilla compound at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Sunday's encounter, which ended with the death of Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe, brings back painful memories for Keisha Armstrong, who — along with her then-3-year-old son — survived a similar encounter in 2004 when they came face-to-face with a gorilla that had escaped The Dallas Zoo.
“I can only imagine what the mom is going through watching the baby being attacked,” she told Inside Edition as she watched the video.
The mother recalled how the 340-pound gorilla went after her and Rivers.
“From out of nowhere the gorilla just came out and grabbed Rivers up like he was a piece of paper and put him in his mouth,” she said.
The gorilla mauled four people before he was shot dead by police.
Keisha actually fought with the gorilla and was badly injured but she saved her son's life.
“He just bit down on my leg and it was the most excruciating pain that I have ever felt,” she said.
In 2004, Rivers' dad, Amos, showed Inside Edition the horrific injuries the gorilla inflicted. His son had a hole in his chest, a collapsed lung and various teeth marks.
“He just kind of picked him up like a rag doll,” he said.
Rivers made a full recovery. Now 15, he is a talented high school quarterback. But he still bears the scars from the attack.
“It's very hard to watch [Sunday's] video," Rivers said. "He's in the same position that I was in."