Lutz said his office had started to get phone calls at about 5.30pm that wild animals were loose on a road that runs under Interstate 70.
He said four deputies with assault rifles in a truck went to the farm, where they found the owner, Terry Thompson, dead and all the animal cage doors open.
He would not say how Thompson died but said several aggressive animals were near his body when deputies arrived and had to be shot.
Thompson, who lived on the property, had orangutans and chimps in his home, but they were still in their cages, Lutz said.
The deputies, who saw many other animals standing outside their cages and others that had escaped past the fencing surrounding the property, began shooting them on sight. They said there had been no reports of injuries among the public.
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