12-25) 18:34 PST San Francisco - -- One San Francisco Zoo visitor was killed and two others injured early this evening after a tiger escaped from its cage.
The tiger that got loose was fatally shot while it was attacking a patron, said San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Lt. Ken Smith.
The attack happened shortly after the zoo's 5 p.m. closing time at a cafe on the east end of the zoo, officials said. The tiger cages are located near the center of the zoo.
The condition of the two injured patrons was not immediately known. It was also not clear how the tiger escaped.
Officials at first worried that four tigers had escaped, but three of the tigers never left their pen, Smith said.
The killing happened almost exactly a year after a zookeeper was mauled during a public feeding. The state has ruled that the zoo was responsible for that incident because of the unsafe configuration of the cages.
This evening, shortly after the 5:17 p.m. report of the attack, shotgun-wielding police officers and firefighters gathered around the zoo's south entrance.
Firefighters were using tall ladders to shine flashlights into the zoo through the dense eucalyptus trees.