Residents See Wandering Bear Shot, Killed in West St. Paul

Updated: 06/08/2014 1:01 PM
Created: 06/07/2014 12:24 PM
By: Brandi Powell

A bear wandering through a West St. Paul neighborhood early Saturday morning was shot and killed by police.

West St. Paul Police Department authorities said they became increasingly worried about public safety.

Police said members from several police agencies tried to corner and contain the bear first and then shoot it with a tranquilizer gun, but they were unsuccessful.

The bear was described as a 120 to 150-pound black bear, with an injured back leg. Police said it may be the same bear reported in the Savage, Eagan and other Southern metro communities.

The bear was first spotted near Bernard Street West and Charlton Street in West St. Paul. While officers tried to contain it, the bear ran toward the north side of the city, police said.

West St. Paul resident Tony Yekaldo saw officers shoot the animal outside his garage near the intersection.

"All of a sudden I heard a loud noise," Yekaldo said.

"Here goes an officer with a shot gun and a bear was on the ground, just flipping around," Yekaldo said. "I saw the paw was shot and the officer said get into the garage. I heard another shot. I come over to the middle where I can see it happening and then the officer finally shot it in the head."

Yekaldo said he understands why police killed it, but it wasn't easy to watch.

Police said the bear's injury and an increasing presence of officers and the public seemed to startle and aggravate the bear. At that point, residents had started to come out of their homes to see what was going on.

Animal control and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources were unable to provide any assistance in this incident, police said. The elevated safety concerns prompted the officers to "respond accordingly to protect their communities, up to and including shooting loose animals."

Photo: Christina Yekaldo

Minneapolis/St. Paul

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