Police Chief Tony Carleton says a vehicle drove past the arena about 2 a.m. and fired the shot into the area, striking an Asian circus elephant named Carol.
The elephant was hit in the neck during the unexpected shooting on the grounds of BancorpSouth Arena on Tuesday.
Authorities are searching for a silver or white Ford Explorer whothat may have been involved in the shooting.
“It appeared to be a deliberate, targeted event, ” said Capt. Rusty Haynes, with the Tupelo police.
The reward money for information leading to an arrest and conviction is up to $24,000. A part of that money is coming from the U.S. government, as Asian elephants are endangered, Haynes said.
Carol will be spending the next few weeks in Missouri where she will be recuperating from her injury.
“I have no idea why anyone in the world would want to do something so malicious or stupid, ” the police captain said Wednesday. ” It makes no sense to me whatsoever.”