KPD said Wednesday that officers had responded to the scene around 8:30 p.m. on a report of a disturbance. The zoo had been closed for a fundraising event; the suspect is said to have entered the zoo and interrupted the event while acting “very erratic.”
The suspect, identified as Marcus Winston, 55, of Knoxville was located by responding officers and was asked to leave, to which he refused. Officers then took Winston into custody after a short struggle.
KPD says after Winston was detained, officers found a clear bag near him containing a white, rock-like substance believed to be crack cocaine. Winston was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for evaluation.
“Due to the suspect’s behavior and actions, it was evident that he was a danger to himself and others,” the arrest report states.
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Winston was released after refusing medical attention and transported to the detention facility. KPD says charges are forthcoming for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and drug possession.
On Wednesday afternoon, Zoo Knoxville released the following statement about the incident:
On Tuesday, September 27, during a private after-hours event at Zoo Knoxville, an individual entered the premises and created a disturbance by behaving erratically. This person accessed the zoo through the entrance that was open for guests to enter and exit the event. Staff monitoring the entrance alerted Zoo Knoxville’s security personnel, who are on grounds at all times and trained to handle situations like this to ensure the safety of our guests, staff, and animals. The ranger on duty responded immediately and called 911 for support from the Knoxville Police Department. All event attendees were safely secured indoors until KPD officers arrived and took the individual into custody.Zoo Knoxville spokesperson