911 Recordings Reveal Details of Attack

STAMFORD, Conn. — A North Stamford woman told a 911 operator that her pet chimpanzee ripped her friend apart and pleaded with him to send police officers to shoot it.

“Please hurry up, he’s killing my girlfriend,” Sandra Herold, 70, shouted during the beginning of the 911 call, the animal screaming in the background. “You gotta kill my chimp.”

The dispatcher at first did not understand that the attacker was an animal. Herold kept repeating “Hurry up! Please God,” before she answered that the attacker was her chimp.

“He ripped her face off,” she said of her friend, Charla Nash, 55. “He’s trying to charge me.”

When the operator tried to question her, she said, “Listen to me. They gotta shoot him, please.”

Herold, who stabbed the chimp with a butcher knife before making the call, retreated to her car at the end of her driveway and stayed on the phone with the dispatcher until after police arrived.

The recording of the police dispatches shows the first officer arrived in about 3 minutes, 45 seconds. A recording of Herold’s call shows the dispatcher telling her officers have arrived about 9 minutes after they received the call.

Through much of the 15 minutes of the recording police played Tuesday, the 911 operator tries to calm Herold. Her breathing became labored and she said she was going to pass out.

Herold kept saying her friend was dead, and asked the disapatcher to tell police to shoot the animal. She told the dispatcher that, when she stabbed the chimp, it made him worse.

“Oh my God, he ripped her apart,” she said.

After a few minutes, the dispatcher asked if the chimp was still with Herold’s friend.

“He’s eating her,” Herold said.

Herold was dismayed when she told the operator police did not shoot the chimpanzee right away.

“Shoot him because he’s going to try to attack me now,” she said.

Police said Herold tried to wrestle the chimp away from Nash before stabbing him with an 8-inch knife. The knife plunged in about 4 inches, Police Chief Brent Larrabee said. When that failed to subdue the animal, she began hitting it with a shovel, he said.

“She was struggling mightily to get that chimpanzee off her friend,” said Capt. Richard Conklin, head of the detective bureau.

When police arrived, they tried to secure the scene so emergency medical technicians could help Nash, who they determined was breathing.

“We gotta get this guy outta here. He’s got no face,” one officer said of Nash.

At first, officers did not see the animal, Conklin said. The chimp returned and tried to get into one of the officer’s vehicles. The officer shot him several times at 2-foot range, and all of the shots landed in the animal’s upper torso, Larrabee said. One of its teeth was found near the car.

The wounded chimp fled, and police followed a blood trail to the rear of the house, where the animal had returned to its living quarters and died.

Conklin said no one has been charged, but police have not ruled out charges.

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