Mississippi authorities are searching for the drive-by shooter who hit a circus elephant early Tuesday morning outside BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss.
The drive-by shooter drove past the arena and opened fire around 2 a.m. Tuesday in an outdoor area housing the circus elephant and other animals with the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, the Associated Press reported. Circus spokeswoman Melinda Hartline said no other animals were injured in the drive-by.
The elephant was not seriously wounded in the shooting, which is still being investigated by local police. No suspects have been caught as of Tuesday afternoon.
Kevan Kirkpatric, marketing director for BancorpSouth Arena, said the drive-by shooting of a circus animal was a rare occurrence at the Tupelo venue.
“We have had the circus once a year since 1995,” Kirkpatrick told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “Absolutely this is the first elephant shooting we had.”
Tupelo Police Department Capt. Rusty Haynes said “leads were pretty slim” in the elephant shooting, although an arena security guard was able to jot down some information for police.
After the elephant was shot, circus staff calmed the circus animal down by giving it medication, which worked so well after 20 minutes that the elephant was eating carrots and moving about.
Kirkpatrick told the Clarion-Ledger that such a drive-by was uncharacteristic for Tupelo, elephant victim or not.
“This is not who Tupelo is,” he told the paper. “This doesn’t represent our building or our town or our region and we hope the Tupelo Police Department apprehends these folks as quickly as possible and that they are punished to the full extent of the law.”