(SPRINGFIELD, Mo.) -- A zookeeper was crushed to death by a three-ton elephant in a Missouri zoo Friday, but authorities have yet to determine what caused the pachyderm named Patience to lash out at the man. John Phillip Bradford, 62, the manager of the elephants at the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield was killed while he and other zookeepers were in the elephant barn early Friday morning, according to Cora Scott, a spokeswoman for the city of Springfield.
“Bradford, 62, and other staff were working with a 41-year-old female elephant, named Patience, when the elephant made a sudden movement, fatally injuring Bradford,” Scott said in a statement.
Bradford had worked at the zoo for 30 years. No other staff members were injured.
“This is very sad day for the Zoo family, as well as our community as a whole,” Mike Crocker, director of Dickerson Park Zoo, said in a statement.
Zookeepers had “been keeping a close eye on Patience” following the Oct. 4 death of the zoo’s matriarch elephant, Pinky, who died as a result of kidney disease, according to officials.
“No disciplinary action will be taken with the animal. The animal will not be euthanized,” Scott said.
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