Man killed by bear near Prescott in ‘vicious’ and ‘unprovoked’ attack
Jun 16, 2023, 8:58 AM | Updated: 2:54 pm
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.