Police have identified a suspect after a man entered Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto late Friday night, almost immediately stripped naked and jumped into the shark tank.
Video of the incident has been circulating on social media. In one video, the man is seen from one of the facility’s underwater tunnels, where several sharks are swimming just below his feet.
In a separate video, the man is seen swimming around the tank in front of a laughing crowd. At one point the man climbs onto a ledge before flopping backwards back into the water. Security eventually escorts him away from the spectators.
Toronto police said Monday that they identified 37-year-old David Weaver as a suspect. He is now wanted in a mischief investigation.
Police say the same suspect is also wanted in connection with another incident that occurred earlier that night. About two hours before he arrived at Ripley’s Aquarium, the suspect was asked to leave the Medieval Times dinner theatre for allegedly being unruly, police say. He was escorted out by security and then allegedly assaulted someone outside.
The man left the aquarium at around 10:26 p.m. carrying his shoes and jacket when he heard police were called, Peter Doyle, the general manager of Ripley’s Aquarium said the man left behind a number of items of clothing.
Doyle said the aquarium is now reviewing its policies.
“We’ve never had this occur before,” he said Monday.
“This was incredibly dangerous. He jumped into an exhibit with live animals. Whether it’s a dog or a shark you don’t know how an animal will behave when spooked.
“It was incredibly ignorant. The welfare of our animals is paramount. This was a premeditated intentional act.”
Doyle said that while the aquarium is reviewing its policies, it does not want to disrupt the visitor experience.
The aquarium has ring buoys and reach poles around the tank in case a customer falls into the water.
The incident happened during a busy jazz night at the popular tourist attraction, which is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. every day. Jazz night events at the aquarium feature a cash bar.
Ripley’s says it has provided officers with surveillance video of the incident.
“Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is cooperating with authorities and is willing to press all appropriate charges once the individual has been apprehended,” a spokesperson for the aquarium wrote in a statement.
Police say neither the man or the sharks were injured in the incident.