Little Rajjee was spooked at a circus, then thundered through a department store, tipped a car and trampled a person.
Lansing State Journal file photo
By Zizti Meyer
September 23, 2012
A circus elephant broke loose in Lansing on Sept. 26, 1963. Local police shot it dead.
Despite the elephant's presence in Michigan's capital, there was no word on its political affiliation.
Little Rajjee broke away, thundered through a busy Arlan's Department Store and numerous backyards and tipped a car on its side, along the way trampling one person, according to the Lansing State Journal. The 16-year-old elephant, who had gotten a clothesline filled with fresh wash stuck in her halter during the melee, was felled by eight deer-rifle shots in a driveway near Everett High School, as witnesses shouted, "Murderers! Murderers!"
The 3,000-pound Ringling Bros. alumna had been spooked during her King Circus performance at the South Logan Shopping Center. The head trainer, who wasn't with her at the time, hypothesized that the elephant, who never had given him trouble before, probably had wanted sweets from the store and that the police sirens and lights, coupled with yelling from bystanders, upset her.
During her 2-mile rampage through the south Lansing neighborhood, hundreds began following her on foot and by bike and car.
The handler working with Little Rajjee right before she broke away wept over her giant corpse in the street.
The elephant's remains were taken to the Michigan State University veterinary pathology department for study.