Man killed by bear near Prescott in ‘vicious’ and ‘unprovoked’ attack

Jun 16, 2023, 8:58 AM | Updated: 2:54 pm

(YCSO Photo)...

(YCSO Photo)

(YCSO Photo)

PHOENIX — A bear mauled and killed an Arizona man Friday near Prescott in an attack officials say was vicious and unprovoked.

A citizen shot the bear, but not before it killed 66-year-old Steven Jackson of Tucson, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said.

“This is clearly just a vicious attack. … It was unprovoked, is what it appears to be, from what I’ve seen,” Sheriff David Rhodes said during a press conference near the scene in the Groom Creek area.

Jackson and the adult male bear were dead when sheriff’s deputies and Prescott police officers arrived in response to multiple 911 calls.

Officials say that while bear sightings are common in Arizona, attacks on humans are extremely rare.

The last fatal bear attack occurred in the Pinetop area in 2011, Arizona Game and Fish Department Field Supervisor Darren Tucker said during the press conference.

Tucker said there were no recent reports of aggressive bears in the Prescott area.

It’s illegal to shoot a bear unless it poses an immediate threat, officials said.

“These are exceedingly rare circumstances, and we haven’t seen this before,” Rhodes said. “We don’t want people to freak out, shoot bears, shoot animals. … But you have to respect wildlife.”

Jackson was sitting in a campsite where he’d been building a cabin when he was attacked, Rhodes said.

Neighbors heard him screaming for help and tried to scare the bear away by honking horns and making other noise.

The bear dragged Jackson about 75 yards down away before a neighbor shot and killed it.

Officials said there was no indication there was food left out in the area.

Investigators are working to determine why the attack occurred.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Downtown Phoenix skyline...

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Arizona stories from Sept. 30-Oct. 1

In case you missed it. Here are some of the biggest stories that headlined the Arizona news cycle over the weekend.

10 hours ago

A damaged saguaro cactus stands with a recently fallen arm resting on the sidewalk on Aug. 2, 2023,...

Associated Press

Arizona’s biggest city has driest monsoon season since weather service began record-keeping in 1895

After a summer of extreme heat, Arizona’s most populous city is in the record books again. This time Phoenix is notching a record for dry heat.

12 hours ago

King Ranch Goodyear...

Brandon Gray

Harvard Investments acquires master-planned King Ranch community land in Goodyear for $22M

Real estate investment and development company Harvard Investments announced Friday it acquired the master-planned King Ranch community in Goodyear. 

12 hours ago

File photo of a Mesa Police patrol vehicle. A man was killed in a shooting involving Mesa officers ...

Mesa police pursuit ends with suspect being seriously injured in Tempe

A 21-year-old suspect was seriously injured after being involved in a critical incident with Mesa police Saturday night near a Tempe intersection, according to officials. 

16 hours ago

D1Training athletes...

Former youth coaches bring open group fitness to Mesa with D1Training franchise

On Oct. 9, D1Training will have a new franchise in East Mesa near Crismon Road and Southern Avenue led by two former youth coaches.

20 hours ago

(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)...

Kim Komando

Shopping under surveillance: How retailers track you & how to be invisible

If you have a pulse and an internet connection, companies want all the details they can get on what you’re willing to buy — and it’s getting harder to tell where they’re getting all that info.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Importance of AC maintenance after Arizona’s excruciating heat wave

An air conditioning unit in Phoenix is vital to living a comfortable life inside, away from triple-digit heat.



At Ability360, every day is Independence Day

With 100 different programs and services, more than 1,500 non-medically based home care staff, a world-renowned Sports & Fitness Center and over 15,000 people with disabilities served annually, across all ages and demographics, Ability360 is a nationwide leader in the disability community.



Here are the biggest tips to keep your AC bill low this summer

PHOENIX — In Arizona during the summer, having a working air conditioning unit is not just a pleasure, but a necessity. No one wants to walk from their sweltering car just to continue to be hot in their home. As the triple digits hit around the Valley and are here to stay, your AC bill […]

Man killed by bear near Prescott in ‘vicious’ and ‘unprovoked’ attack