The story of the little boy who fell into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo on Saturday has captured the attention of the nation. Now important facts have been revealed about the child’s parents.
Heavy News has released 5 important key facts about the child’s father, identified as Deonne Dickerson, a 36-year-old Cincinnati man. Dickerson and the boy’s mother, Michelle Gregg, have four children together.
1. Dickerson was not at the zoo with his family on Saturday, and therefore, had no control over what occurred there that day. The mother had taken their four children alone. She can be heard in the video of the incident, calling out to her son, telling him she loves him, and to be calm. She is also overheard crying out, “Oh God, please protect him,” as panicked zoo visitors call for help. Zoo officials had to shoot the gorilla, who was violently dragging the child through the water of his enclosure.
2. Dickerson has a criminal record, but appears to have turned his life around. He was last arrested in 2006, and many of his prior crimes occurred in the late 1990’s, when he was in his teens and early 20’s. His past convictions include burglary, gun offenses, drug trafficking, criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and kidnapping. He spent at least one year in prison relating to the drug charges.
Dickerson’s now-deleted Facebook page showed photos and videos with his children and Michelle Gregg, and tell the story of a man who loves his family and has turned his life around. His Facebook page indicated he has six children, including the four with Gregg. Originally from Cleveland, he went to Cuyahoga Community College, and works as a sorter at an industrial equipment supplier in Cincinnati.
3. The child’s mother, Michelle Gregg, is a Daycare Administrator
The preschool where Gregg works, Little Blossoms Academy, was bombarded with angry Facebook messages from the public after her name become public, and had to delete the messages from their page.
4. Dickerson is a good father, says the mother of one of his other children.
She spoke out on Facebook, saying Dickerson and Gregg are both good parents. She said she talked to the child on the phone and he said he wants to go back to the zoo.
5. Thousands nationwide have called for Dickerson and Gregg to be held accountable, while police admit they are investigating to see if criminal charges are appropriate.
The Cincinnati Police have issued a statement saying they are “closely reviewing the facts and circumstances that led to a four-year-old boy falling into the Gorilla World enclosure,” and that “this review is only regarding the actions of the parents/family that led up to the incident and not related to the operation and safety of the Cincinnati Zoo.”
A citizen petition calling for Child Protective Services to investigate the mother has already been signed by over 50,000 people. So far, no charges have been filed.
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