Lion that killed woman in Caswell County was hit with 3 tranquilizer darts, shot 8 times before it went down

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CASWELL COUNTY, N.C. -- The lion that killed a woman at the Conservators Center over the weekend was hit with three tranquilizer darts and shot eight times before it went down, according to an incident report from the Caswell County Sheriff's Office.

The report, written by Sgt. Michael Griggs, details the harrowing moments after 22-year-old Alexandra Marie Black was attacked up until the lion was brought down.

Black, of New Palestine, Indiana, graduated from Indiana University in May and had been working at the Conservators Center for about two weeks.

One of the lions somehow left a locked space and went to where people were working and attacked Black on Sunday morning, leading to her death.

In Griggs' report, he said when he got to the Conservators Center he talked to Douglas Evans, who was in charge of the animals.

Evans said they were waiting on a tranquilizer gun and meanwhile, the fire department had set up water lines to spray the lion if it got close to Black again.

When the tranquilizer gun arrived, Griggs writes that as Evans was preparing the tranquilizer gun, the dart appeared to break and Evans could not get the broken part out.

Evans left on a golf cart to go get another tranquilizer gun and returned with a blowgun. Griggs asked Evans where he kept the tranquilizer guns and Evans said at his house.

Evans used the blowgun to hit the lion with three tranquilizer darts, giving time in between each dart to see if the lion would go to sleep, but it never went down.

After the third dart, the decision was made that deadly force was necessary.

Griggs writes that he shot the lion in the right shoulder area and the lion did not go down. He shot it again in the same area, then Lt. Shell shot it in the same area again.

When the lion still did not go down, Griggs shot the lion a fourth, fifth and sixth time in the right side.

After those shots, the lion then ran to a platform and laid down with its head still up, looking around, Griggs wrote.

Deputy Overman was able to place a seventh shot in the breast area of the lion near the base of its neck. The lion's head went down and Evans said the lion needed to be shot in the heart to ensure that it was dead.

"I was able to take a safe and clear shot into the lion's left body area where Mr. Evans stated the shot should be placed," Griggs wrote.

Evens went into the enclosure and confirmed the lion was dead.

Griggs wrote in his report that he was using a 12-gauge shotgun with one-ounce slugs. It is unclear what type of weapons Shell and Overman were using.

Black's family released a statement to WXIN, FOX8's sister station in Indianapolis.

“Alex loved animals. Our beautiful, intelligent, passionate Alex had worked, unpaid, at several animal-related ventures, most recently at Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana. This was her fourth internship, because she really wanted to make a career of working with animals.

"She was looking forward to this first out-of-state internship at the Conservators Center in North Carolina 10 days ago.

"She was a beautiful young woman who had just started her career, there was a terrible accident, and we are mourning. But she died following her passion.

"We ask that you consider donating to Wolf Park in Battleground, Indiana, to honor Alex.”

It remains under investigation how the lion was able to escape its enclosure.

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