SAN FRANCISCO – As a grieving family planned the funeral of a teen killed by a tiger at San Francisco Zoo, the two brothers who could shed the most light on how the attacks occurred have yet to speak out since leaving the hospital.
A 350-pound Siberian tiger killed Carlos Sousa Jr. and seriously hurt two of his friends after escaping from its enclosure. Brothers Paul Dhaliwal, 19, and Kulbir Dhaliwal, 23, suffered severe bite and claw wounds.
The pair were released from the hospital Saturday, leaving through a side door amid a crush of reporters hoping to clear up lingering questions about how the tiger escaped its enclosure Tuesday afternoon and how the attacks occurred. They offered no comment.
Nor were the brothers seen arriving later that day at the family's San Jose home on a tree-lined street of modern two-story houses. No one answered the door at the home, and a phone listing could not be located.
Police said Sousa Jr.'s neck was slashed while the teen tried to scare away the tiger after it attacked Kulbir Dhaliwal. Sousa died at the scene just before the zoo's closing time on Christmas Day.
The zoo's director has said it was likely the tiger jumped or climbed out of the enclosure — which has walls about 4 feet lower than recommended national standards — after an internal review showed no doors had been left open. San Francisco police have said their investigation shows the escape was not the result of any intentional release.
But no other witnesses have emerged aside from the brothers themselves who seem likely to be able to shed light on the exact sequence of events, from the moment of the escape and attack just after 5 p.m. to the apparent chase that ensued.
After killing the teenager, the tiger followed a trail of blood left by Kulbir Dhaliwal about 300 yards to the cafe, where the cat mauled both brothers before officers gunned it down, police said.
Sousa's funeral is scheduled for Jan. 8 in San Jose, with a public viewing the day before.
At a weekend vigil outside the home of Sousa's grandmother, family and friends remembered the 17-year-old high school student as an outgoing, spirited young man who loved hip-hop and made friends easily.
Byron Tillmon, a next-door neighbor, said Sousa spent weekends in his grandmother's garage pursuing his dreams of success in the music business.
"That kid would be in there with his DJ equipment making music," Tillmon said. "He'd be in there doing his thing, staying active."
About 100 people gathered outside the grandmother's home Saturday, holding candles in cups as Sousa's father stood on the doorstep in front of two enlarged photos of him and his son.
"My son Carlos was a very good boy" said Carlos Sousa Sr., choking back tears. "I want you all to remember the good things that he did and carry this with you in your hearts for as long as you can."
Sousa Jr.'s friends have also posted a MySpace tribute to the slain young man, described as a laid-back teenager who liked to play football and basketball.
The zoo is scheduled to reopen Thursday.