911 Calls Released

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This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 16, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

HEATHER NAUERT, CO-HOST: Douglas Kennedy joins us now with the clip of those frantic and horrible phone calls.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Heather. These tapes show that at first the zoo employees did not believed the boy had actually been attacked, even calling his account crazy. The tapes also revealed paramedics refused to enter the zoo, fearing they might get attacked themselves.


CALLER: It's a matter of life and death!

OPERATOR: Calm down.

KENNEDY (voice over): His friend lay dying and his brother bleeding but Kulbir Dhaliwal couldn't convince paramedics to come into the zoo and save them.

CALLER: It's a matter of life and death!

OPERATOR: I understand that, but at the same time we have to make sure the paramedics don't get chewed out, because if the paramedics get hurt hen nobody's going to help you.

KENNEDY: During summary frantic call with the 911, Kulbir estimates he has waited for 18 minutes for the circling paramedics. The call also reveals zoo workers were reluctant to aid the alleged tiger taunters, including Kulbir's brother, Paul and 17-year-old Carlos Sousa who later died from his injuries. Kulbir for instance screams at the manager of the zoo restaurant to get him something to stop the bleeding.

CALLER: Give me a towel, man! What's wrong with these people?

KENNEDY: And in another 911 call, two unidentified employees at the San Francisco Zoo are heard doubting the boy's story.

ZOO EMPLOYEE: They are screaming about an animal that has attacked them and there is no animal out.

OPERATOR: Is he saying that he was bitten? Is the patient saying that he was bitten by the animal?

ZOO EMPLOYER: He was saying he was bitten by an animal but there is no animal escaped so he could just be crazy.

MICHAEL CARDOZA, SOUSA FAMILY ATTORNEY: One of the things that struck me was the inordinate amount of time that it took for help to get out to the zoo

KENNEDY: Michael Cardoza is the Sousa family attorney, and has now teamed up with famed California litigator, Mark Geragos, who is representing the brothers. Both are expected to file civil suits against the zoo and possibly the emergency response services. The zoo's director, meanwhile, strenuously defended his employee's actions. "I'm extremely satisfied that our zoo staff acted appropriately. Some of our staff did heroic things and I hope that eventually, they can be recognized for the way they handled some very difficult situations."

And a judge just issued a blow to the brothers and the family of Sousa, allowing police to search their car and cell phone for any evidence that the three had attempted to agitate the tiger, possibly with a slingshot. Geragos and Cardoza insist they did nothing untoward, pointing to the 911 tape as evidence of the zoo's indifference to keep patrons safe.

CARDOZA: Well, I mean, here you have a young man lying on the ground that just mauled by a tiger and some of the zoo people and some of the people on the phone are questioning whether they're telling the truth or not?


KENNEDY: Cardoza also told he is upset zoo employees did not take action quickly. He says, at that point, three people had already been mauled and had clearly been attacked by an animal and he says, John and Heather, he is going to hold them, of course, responsible.

GIBSON: Douglas, so, the cops that just got access to those guys' cell phones and car. When will we know what really happened in this?

KENNEDY: I talked to the San Francisco Police just a little while ago, and they say, they are not giving a timetable but it does not look like they're going to file any charges against the two men, but, you know, who knows. If they don't file charges, then we've got to wait for the civil case to come around and that could take months.

GIBSON: Douglas Kennedy. Douglas as always, thank you.

NAUERT: Thank you Douglas.

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