Rampaging camel kills 2 men at petting zoo in Tennessee

A rampaging camel on the loose in Tennessee killed two men and then attacked a police car, according to authorities.

Deputies responded Thursday to the Shirley Farms in Obion, where they found Bobby Matheny, 42, and Tommy Gunn, 67, unconscious on the ground, according to the Obion County Sheriff’s Office.

Police said the men had just been attacked by the animal, which was running free on the property when they arrived.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Ridgely Police Department, Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Lake County Rescue Squad also responded to the scene to provide aid and safely relocate the men.

As deputies were attempting to load one of the victims into a waiting ambulance, the camel emerged and again started to attack. This time it targeted a sheriff’s office vehicle.

“It was at this time officers had to put the camel down for the safety of everyone on scene,” Obion County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Matheny and Gunn succumbed to their injuries and died at the scene, officials said.

It’s not clear how the camel initially got loose, but Shirley Farms is also home to Pumpkin Barn LLC, a playground and a popular petting zoo, according to its Facebook page.

An obituary for Matheny said that he was a janitor at a high school and that he would “be remembered for his kindness and the friendship that he always showed to all that he met.”

The nature of the men’s injuries was not immediately available. They were pronounced dead at the scene, the statement said.

The Sheriff’s Office declined to say whether the camel was male or female, which an expert said could help explain the animal’s behavior.

Bernard Faye, a retired camel scientist in France, said on Sunday in a New York Times interview that it was rare for a female camel to be aggressive unless they were defending their offspring.

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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