I am not the least surprised by this series of findings:

Tiger Victim Provoked Attack, Police Say. Police Say Taunting 'Contributed' To Attack

POSTED: 6:05 am EST January 18, 2008
UPDATED: 8:11 am EST January 18, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO -- Police believe that a fatal tiger attack at the San Francisco Zoo was in part prompted by the victims provoking the animal into escaping its enclosure and mauling them, investigators said in court documents.

One of the three victims was intoxicated and told another victim's father that they were standing atop a railing and yelling and waving at the tiger shortly before the Christmas Day attack, according to a search warrant affidavit obtained by the San Francisco Chronicle late Thursday.

The affidavit, which requested a search warrant for the cell phones and car of brothers Paul and Kulbir Dhaliwal, also cites multiple reports of a group of young men taunting animals at the zoo, the Chronicle reported. Carlos Sousa Jr., 17, was killed in the mauling.

"As a result of this investigation, (police believe) that the tiger may have been taunted/agitated by its eventual victims," wrote Inspector Valerie Matthews, who prepared the affidavit. Police believe that "this factor contributed to the tiger escaping from its enclosure and attacking its victims," she wrote.

Toxicology results for Paul Dhaliwal, 19, showed that his blood alcohol level was 0.16 percent after the attack -- twice the legal threshold for drunkenness -- while the blood alcohol level of Kulbir Dhaliwal, 24, was 0.04 percent and Sousa's was 0.02 percent, according to the affidavit.

All three also had marijuana in their systems, the documents said. Kulbir Dhaliwal told police that the three had smoked pot and each had "a couple shots of vodka" before leaving San Jose for the zoo on Dec. 25, Matthews wrote.

Police found a small amount of marijuana in Kulbir Dhaliwal's 2002 BMW, which the victims rode to the zoo, as well as a partially filled bottle of vodka, according to court documents.

Investigators also recovered messages and images from the cell phones, but found nothing incriminating in connection with the tiger attack, the Chronicle reported.

The affidavit includes an account by Sousa's father, Carlos Sousa Sr., who said he spoke with Paul Dhaliwal after the attack. The elder Sousa said the teen told him the three stood on a 3-foot-tall metal railing a few feet from the edge of the tiger moat, and "when they got down they heard a noise in the bushes, and the tiger was jumping out of the bushes on him (Paul Dhaliwal)," the documents said.

Police found a partial shoe print that matched Paul Dhaliwal's on top of the railing, Matthews said in the documents.

The papers said Paul Dhaliwal told Sousa that no one was dangling their legs or throwing things at the tiger, which authorities believe leaped or climbed out. Zoo officials say the enclosure walls were 12Ĺ feet tall -- 4 feet lower than the recommended minimum.

Mark Geragos, an attorney for the Dhaliwal brothers, did not return a call late Thursday by The Associated Press for comment. He has repeatedly said they did not taunt the tiger.

Calls to Sousa and Michael Cardoza, an attorney for the Sousa family, also weren't returned.

Sam Singer, a spokesman for the zoo, told the AP he had not seen the documents but believes the victims did taunt the animal, even though they claim they hadn't.

"Those brothers painted a completely different picture to the public and the press," Singer said. "Now it's starting to come out that what they said is not true."

Previous Stories:
January 15, 2008: Tiger Victim Pleads For Help On 911 Tape
January 12, 2008: New Incidents Put S.F. Zoo In Spotlight
January 11, 2008: S.F. Holding Hearings On Tiger Attack
January 5, 2008: S.F. Zoo Sees Attendance Climb
January 2, 2008: Zoo Took 30 Minutes To Call 911, Lawyer Says

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.