Drive-By Injures Elephant

A recent drive-by shooting outside the BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., that left a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s circus elephant injured has prompted outcry in the community, which is offering a sizeable reward for information that might lead to an arrest in the case.

The circus set up an animal compound April 7 in the arena’s parking lot in preparation for a run of shows and, in the early hours of April 9, someone in a vehicle driving down the street opened fire, shooting Carol the elephant in the shoulder.

BancorpSouth GM Todd Hunt told Pollstar the incident was the first time he’s had a shooting take place in his 16 years as an arena manager.

“We were shocked and appalled that something like this would happen,” he said. “Obviously our concern was for the animals, as well as the employees of Ringling Brothers and our employees that were present on the lot when this took place. It’s certainly not a regular occurrence.”

There is a bright side to the story, however. Carol was treated and is expected to make a full recovery, though she won’t be performing for a few weeks. And the Ringling Bros. performances remained on schedule April 11-14.

Hunt added the community has come together in support of the circus and the elephant, and said the arena is doing several things to attract donations to the local Humane Society.

More than $21,000 in reward money is offered by the circus, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA and local CrimeStoppers. –Dana Parker-McClain