NEW YORK CITY — The man who apparently attempted suicide by leaping into the Bronx Zoo's tiger den Friday afternoon was charged Saturday with criminal trespass, police said.
David Villalobos, 25, was issued a desk appearance ticket after Bronx Zoo officials filed a complaint over his leap from the Wild Asia Monorail into a pit, where he was mauled by Bachuta, an 11-year-old Siberian tiger.
Villalobos told investigators he wanted to be "one with the tiger," police said.
When questioned by police Saturday morning, Villalobos said that he sustained injuries mainly when landing on his hands and feet in the tiger pen, before waking up the 400-pound Siberian, the New York Post reported.
“He recalled being dragged by the tiger by the foot, and afterwards being able to pet the tiger,” NYPD spokesman Paul Browne told the paper.
Villalobos was charged with both trespass and criminal trespass late Saturday, an NYPD spokeswoman said Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, friends have been flooding his Facebook page with good wishes.
"What you were thinking?? God bless your mind and get well," wrote David Aguilar.
On that same Facebook page, Villalobos posted a photo on Thursday of a tiger licking a cub with the caption, "Nice."
Those who know Villalobos remain surprised by the incident.
"He was a good worker, very personal," said Gayle Staffanson, manager of V-Note, an Upper East Side vegan restaurant where Villalobos used to work.
One young woman familiar with Villalobos said he was very "hippy dippy."
"I know he was very spiritual," she said.
A neighbor who watched Villalobos growing up said that he was a "very nice young man."
"To see his picture on TV at six o'clock in the morning, we were devastated," he said.