An Arizona man enjoying his morning coffee was mauled and killed in a black bear attack on Friday.
The bear was shot and killed, but the victim “succumbed to injuries,” authorities said.
The local sheriff’s office called the fatal attack “highly uncommon and unusual.”
A black bear mauled and killed a man at a campsite in Arizona on Friday in what authorities said was a “highly uncommon” attack.
66-year-old Steven Jackson from Tuscon was attacked by the animal just before 8 am in the remote woods of Groom Creek, about 100 miles north of Phoenix.
According to multiple witness accounts and a preliminary investigation, Jackson was having coffee on his property where he was building a cabin when a male black bear attacked him, dragging him about 75 feet down an embankment, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
Neighbors “who heard the victim screaming tried to intervene through shouts and car horns,” but the bear would not let go, the sheriff’s office said.
One neighbor eventually shot and killed the bear, which was in the process of eating Jackson, with a rifle, but Jackson had already “succumbed to his horrible injuries.”
“Our sincere sympathies go out to Mr. Jackson’s family,” Sheriff David Rhodes said. “I cannot express how deeply sad this situation is and can only say our prayers are with you.”
The attack, which appeared to be “predatory in nature,” was “highly uncommon and unusual,” authorities said — noting there had only been one other fatal bear attack since the 1980s in the area.
There also did not appear to be anything on the site that would have provoked an attack, such as food or a cooking site.
Bear attacks often involve “some nexus to food,” Darren Tucker, a field supervisor with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, said. Though “nothing jumped out at us as being obvious of why this happened,” he added, per ABC News.
The bear also seemed to be healthy and showed no clear signs of being diseased or sick, Tucker said.
Black bears can weigh around 400 pounds and measure five to seven feet tall when standing upright
The sheriff’s office added there is now no threat to public safety given the bear was killed, but residents reminded it is illegal to shoot bears “unless there is an immediate threat.”
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