Zoo, Parents of Boy Killed by Tiger Reach Settlement

The parents of a 17-year-old boy killed by an escaped tiger at the San Francisco Zoo reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit, their lawyer announced Friday.

Attorney Michael Cardoza said the family of Carlos Sousa Jr. has asked that the amount of the settlement remain confidential. He said the zoo agreed to erect and maintain a bench in memory of the San Jose teen as part of the settlement.

Cardoza said the San Francisco Zoological Society's insurance carrier would pay the entire settlement and no public funds would be used.

A call to a zoo spokeswoman seeking comment was not immediately returned Friday.

Sousa was mauled to death on Christmas Day 2007 when a Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure and attacked Sousa and two of his friends.

The survivors, Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, also have sued over the attack. Besides the zoo and the San Francisco Police Department, their lawsuit also names a public relations firm hired by the zoo. They claim the zoo started a smear campaign against them.

Police spent more than a month investigating the maulings while weighing whether to seek criminal charges against the Dhaliwals. The lead investigator said the tiger "may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," but the department suspended its investigation without recommending any charges.