Investigation continues into shooting death at exotic animal park

    Joe Maldonado and Travis Maldonado photo courtesy Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park

    The Garvin County Sheriff's Office reports they are continuing the investigation into the death of a man at a Wynnewood exotic animal park.

    Sheriff Larry Rhodes confirmed Travis Maldonado, 23, died Oct. 6 at the G. W. Exotic Animal Park. The shooting was reported about 12:30 p.m. Friday at the park. GCSO got a report a man had shot himself in the head. Emergency responders pronounced Maldonado dead at the scene of the shooting in the business office of the park. Sheriff Rhodes reports a .45 caliber handgun was found at the scene.

    Maldonado's husband and park entertainment director Joseph Maldonado spoke with reporters about what happened on Saturday.

    "I was in town running some errands and I received the worst phone call of my life," Joseph Maldonado said. "That my husband was shot and killed here at the zoo."

    Rhodes says he is aware that park employees carried firearms routinely and that investigators are reviewing security camera footage from the time of the shooting. It is unknown at this time if Maldonado was licensed to carry the firearm in an armed security or open carry capacity.

    Joseph Maldonado said Travis thought the gun wouldn't go off without a clip on it.

    "He was so good with his guns," Joseph Maldonado said. "He shot his guns everyday and to try to explain how something so stupid could happen."

    The animal park was open to the public at the time of the shooting and another park employee was present. Two visitors to the park had left before deputies arrived and the GCSO would like to locate them in order to get their statements.

    The park's owner, Joseph Maldonado, was not at the scene at the time of the shooting. He confirmed to FOX 25 Friday that his husband, Travis, died in the shooting.

    The manner of Maldonado's death has not been determined. Sheriff Rhodes reports more details are expected to be available on Tuesday.

    The park was open on Saturday and no other closures are planned.

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