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Cops: 2 chimpanzees get loose in Las Vegas

Steve Marcus / Las Vegas Sun via Reuters

Officials investigate the scene after a male chimpanzee was shot and killed in a residential area of northwest Las Vegas on Thursday.

Updated at 7:22 p.m. ET: LAS VEGAS -- Las Vegas police say they had no choice but to kill one chimpanzee and tranquilize another after the agitated animals got loose in northwest Las Vegas.

“They were acting aggressively,” Officer Laura Meltzer told msnbc.com on Thursday. “We had reports of two chimpanzees on the loose and one was pounding on a police car.”

Meltzer said the chimps, a male and female, were very large. She said the male chimpanzee weighed at least 170 pounds.

Meltzer said the male chimpanzee was heading into an area where residents, including children, had come outside to watch the commotion in a neighborhood in the northwest valley.

She said calls to police about chimpanzees on the loose started coming in after 10:13 a.m.

By noon, one chimpanzee was shot by police and the second recaptured and later tranquilized, police said.

Police warned residents in the area to stay inside and urged motorists to stay away during the chase. Police shut down Ann Road from Jones Boulevard to Bradley Road during the incident.  A nearby school, Kay Carl Elementary School, was on lockdown, Meltzer said.

Clark County Animal Control officials are not releasing the identity of the owners or their address, KSNV reported.

The private owners had the chimpanzees in a large cage on their property. The chimps somehow got out of their enclosure and headed out to the streets, remaining within about a block or so radius from the property in the 5700 block of Rowland Ave, according to KSNV. 

The Clark County Animal Control and the United States Zoological Association will be conducting an investigation.

The city requires a permit to keep a wild animal, including a primate or monkey, according to the Las Vegas Sun. Diana Paul, a spokeswoman for Las Vegas, told the Sun the city had not issued any wild animal permits.

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