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California deputy wounds bear that charged at him, three kids, authorities say

LA VERNE, Calif. -- Officials often see bears in Southern California’s foothill communities and it rarely ends badly, but it did after an off-duty deputy shot a bear that he said charged at him and his three young kids Tuesday, CBS Los Angeles reports.

The search is on for that bear in the Live Oak Canyon area. Wildlife officials warn that because it is wounded it may act even more dangerously.

“That’s really worrisome, especially because the bear was wounded and then not caught,” said Cloyce Morrow, who has encountered the bear before.

Authorities said the family was outside their home Tuesday night when the three bears confronted them near trash bins. The unidentified deputy pulled out his gun and fired warning shots into the air, but as he tried to get his kids to safety, one of the bears suddenly ran toward them.

“This bear didn’t back down. It came up aggressive at him, and it was within arm’s reach when he shot at the bear,” said Lt. Ron Hoffman of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The deputy shot the bear several times before all three bears ran off. The family was not hurt.

Deputies handed out fliers Wednesday night warning people about the incident.

Morrow said the three bears are in her pool nearly every day. She’s not taking any chances.

“I take a pan and a metal cup and bang my way all the way to the car if I have to go, and I’m yelling at them,” she said. “I’m a little paranoid.”

Wildlife officials do not believe this was a mother bear trying to protect her cubs. They think all three bears are fairly young and may have just not known any better.