Still furious over his inability to inflict damage upon numerous pieces of high-quality Samsonite luggage many years ago, Bobo the Gorilla severely pummeled Samsonite CEO Frank Jurgens into a life-threatening coma yesterday. Bobo, a 550-pound African lowland gorilla, became enraged upon seeing the man singularly responsible for the development of the extraodinarily durable, long-lasting luggage.
“It was horrible, just horrible,” one witness said. “The gorilla would pick him up, spin him around, and throw him down, then hit him with the luggage. It would set him up against the wall in a half-conscious slump, get a running start from the other side of the room, then smash into him with the suitcase and rebound off the wall. It’d pick him up and spin him around in a pinwheeling motion, then throw him at the floor and bounce him against the wall again. It’d jump on his head, bounce up and down in a squatting motion on his chest, then pick him up and start the whole process again.”
Witnesses reported that the gorilla’s choice of weapon proved especially damaging to his victim, as its rugged, quality construction was able to withstand the most strenuous levels of wear and tear without damage, maintaining its durability as the gorilla repeatedly smashed it into Jurgens’s head, neck, chest and back.
The beating, which took place behind a barricaded door in Jurgens’s deluxe mid-Manhattan office, lasted for over 20 minutes, and was observed via camera by the building’s security staff. Unable to break through the gorilla’s barricade to save Jurgens, they were helpless to do anything but watch the muscle-bound animal pummel Jurgens with blow after blow, expertly wielding the suitcase as a bludgeoning tool.
The gorilla, born in the lowlands of Central Africa and transported to the United States at age two, seemed “possessed of an almost deliberate single-mindedness, clearly seeking revenge for an age-old vendetta,” before and during the attack, police said.
The tragic incident began when Jurgens visited the Bronx Zoo during a family outing. Bobo apparently became enraged upon making eye contact with Jurgens during the family’s tour of the zoo’s “Jungle World” exhibit.
“He looked right at me,” Jurgens said from his bed in the Intensive Care Ward of Mt. Sinai Hospital. “I swear to God, his beady gorilla eyes looked right into mine. It was obvious that our fine product’s wear-resistant design had caused him years of frustration, and that he unleashed this pent-up anger in an outburst of savage catharsis.”
Shortly after seeing Jurgens, the animal “went ballistic,” according to witnesses, leaping over the concrete safety pit surrounding the enclosure and repeatedly tearing at the iron bars separating him from zoo visitors with his teeth and fists. Eight zoo staffers and large doses of tranquilizers failed to subdue the creature, who finally escaped by tearing a set of keys from a zookeeper’s belt.
He resumed his pursuit of Jurgens, eventually catching up to him at his downtown office, where he trapped him in the penthouse and barricaded the door. All told, Bobo pursued Jurgens, who had risen to prominence within Samsonite’s ranks after featuring Bobo in a highly successful advertising campaign in the mid-’70s, for over four miles.
In the process, Bobo fended off capture attempts by no fewer than 12 zookeepers, a fully mobilized unit of horse-mounted police, and over 20 highly-trained Samsonite security guards. Although several of these men and women were mildly injured in their failed attempts to subdue the primate, the only person to sustain serious, prolonged injury was Jurgens, whom the revenge-crazed animal “deliberately singled out,” according to several witnesses.
Zoo authorities claim the animal has never shown any sign of violent behavior. In fact, sources said, Bobo has always been an unusually docile gorilla, his friendly and responsive demeanor making him a favorite among children.
“He’s such a cooperative animal that it seemed natural to use him in the television commercial,” Bobo’s trainer and personal attendant, Hank Prando, said. “Little did we know that the luggage’s exceptionally fine craftsmanship would prove too much for the poor beast’s mind to take.”
After finishing the near-fatal beating, Bobo calmly sat down and rested for a few moments, then proceeded to quietly remove the office door’s barricade and surrendered peacefully to authorities.
“He seemed so happy,” said one policeman present at the animal’s surrender. “As they took him away, I saw a look in his eyes of utter peace. It was as if a weight he’d been carrying for years had finally been lifted from his shoulders.”