|John Phillips Bradford, 62, senior zookeeper and elephant manager for the Dickerson Park Zoo died early this morning (Oct. 11, 2013) as a result of an accident at the zoo, according to a joint statement issued by the zoo and the city of Springfield.
Springfield Police and emergency responders were dispatched to Dickerson Park Zoo in response to an accident that occurred in the zoo's elephant container. Bradford and other staff were handling an elephant when the accident occurred. A female elephant with a history of aggressive behavior was involved.
A 30-year-employee of the zoo, Bradford died as a result of injuries sustained. His family, who are located outside of Springfield, have been notified. No other zoo employees were injured.
“This is very sad day for the Zoo family, as well as our community as a whole,” said Mike Crocker, assistant parks director / zoo director.
Chaplains are assisting staff while the zoo remains open to visitors.