Black bear shot downtown remains at large

Bruin was found, but then made its escape

Posted: Tuesday, October 04, 2005

A bear reported shot Sunday night in the downtown area apparently was still at large Monday with only a superficial wound, Juneau police reported.

"The bear was found still alive," Capt. Tom Porter said.

But the bear then made an escape. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game biologist who located it told Porter the bear couldn't have been seriously wounded, judging by how quickly it fled.

Porter couldn't say if any charges will come out of the incident. While it typically isn't legal to fire a gun downtown, shooting at the bear could present some extenuating circumstances, he said. State law allows people to shoot bears in defense of life and property.

"We're waiting for more information," Porter said. "It's too early to say."

Police Sgt. Kris Sell reported that a woman living near Franklin Street near one of the downtown staircases reported a bear breaking into her outside storage shed at 10:49 p.m. Sunday. About 20 minutes later, the bear was reported to have returned, looking in a window of the home and brushing up against the door.

Sell said the woman's fiancé waited for the bear to move away from the door before stepping outside and shooting it from a distance of about five feet.

The woman reporting the incident told police the wounded bear headed toward Franklin Street.

Officers responding to the scene flashed flashlights in the overgrown areas around the home. The bear left a substantial trail of blood, walking from the side of a commercial building near the home, traveling a few yards on a Franklin Street sidewalk, walking between buildings and behind a tourist shop, Sell reported.

Police followed the trail until it went up a steep embankment and into an area of heavy brush, Sell reported. Officers checked to make sure it had not continued across Gastineau Avenue and found no sign it had left the heavy brush.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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