TWO chimpanzees escaped a Las Vegas yard and rampaged through a neighbourhood, pounding on cars and jumping into at least one vehicle before police shot one dead and tranquilised the other.
No people were hurt, but police said they had no choice but to kill after the agitated animals escaped their enclosure about 10am yesterday and started running through yards and opening car doors.
Local man David Plunkett said he saw the male chimpanzee jump on top of a police car -- with its lights on and an officer inside -- before the animal jumped to the ground and headed into a vacant lot.
"We tried to establish a perimeter until the experts arrived," said Officer Marcus Martin, a Las Vegas police spokesman.
"But, at least for the first animal, they couldn't get there in time."
The chimps were on the loose for about 30 minutes with police trying to corral them before a male primate believed to weigh more than 68kg was shot and killed. The other chimp, a female, was shot with a tranquiliser dart but continued to roam the area for several more minutes before she was hit with a second dart.