Little Rajee at King Amusements

† Little Rajee
ID Number:
Species: Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀ 12 years old
Dead date: 1963-09-26
Death reason: euthanised: in Lansing, Michigan Execution by gunshot during a rampage
Location:King Amusements
ArrivedKing Amusements 1961-00-00
from Beech Bend Amusement Park (Charles Garvin)
Beech Bend Amusement Park (Charles Garvin) 1958-00-00
from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus
Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus 1954-00-00
Born:1951 wild
Document updated2011-10-27: text, sources
Trained by Louis Reed and Smokey Jones in the winter 1954.

September 26, 1963 : Elephant Goes on Rampage in Lansing
On Sept. 26, 1963, an elephant that was part of the King Shows and Circus rampaged through Lansing. Rajje, the elephant, was performing at a local shopping center when it became irritated and rebelled against its trainer. Rajje spent about 15 minutes rampaging through Arlan's Department store, causing thousands of dollars in damage, before leaving through a back exit. The police went on a two-mile chase through Lansing after the elephant, who tried to throw a car out of its way. Police eventually put down the 13-year-old, 3,000-pound elephant in a barrage of gunfire.

Michigan Every Day

Here is what happened: After the elephant escaped from the carnival at the strip mall at Holmes and Logan (now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) in Lansing ... A group of us from East Lansing ... looked up from the stands and saw this elephant romping eastward on Holmes Road. Being 16 years old and really dumb, we took off, climbed the fence surrounding the field and proceeded to run after the elephant to "capture" it (like a dog chasing a car! Many of the spectators followed Fouts and his pals, creating a sizable crowd moving through the streets of south Lansing. We scared the elephant enough that (she) ran between houses into back yards knocking over porches and anything else in (her) way. The police and the trainer were there begging us to not rile the elephant but we continued on. Only after the elephant was killed did I realize what we had done, East Lansing and Everett (high schools) joined in a year-long campaign of fundraisers to pay the trainer for his loss, and I, to this day, regret my actions on that night. Five hundred kids chasing anything through city streets will always lead to 'nothing good' ...
John Fouts, 2011

Sources, among others

  • Bob Cline, Cheraw, South Carolina, United States.

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