Arizona man mauled to death by black bear in rare unprovoked attack

A black bear killed an Arizona man drinking coffee on his property in a rare and unprovoked attack on Friday, according to authorities.

Steven Jackson, 66, of Tucson, had been sitting at a table on the property where he was building a home when the attack happened in the Groom Creek area around Prescott, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said Friday. Several neighbours called 911 and unsuccessfully attempted to distract the animal with shouts and car horns in the “heavily wooded remote area” as it grabbed Mr Jackson “unaware, and dragged him approximately 75 feet down an embankment”.

“The bear did not let go of Mr Jackson until one neighbor was able to retrieve his rifle and shoot the bear to get him to disengage,” the sheriff’s office continued. “Unfortunately, by that time Mr Jackson has succumbed to his horrible injuries.

“According to Arizona Game andFish and confirmed by YCSO this attack, which appeared to be predatory in nature, is highly uncommon and unusual, with only one other fatal attack known since themed 1980s,” the office reported. “At first glance there did not appear to be anything on the site that would have precipitated a attack by the bear, such as food, a cooking site or access to water.”

A neighbour eventually shot and killed the bear, but Steven Jackson, 66, had already succumbed to his injuries

(Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office)

The sheriff’s office, along with game and wildlife officials, continued to investigate while authorities cautioned residents against shooting bears unless there was an imminent threat.

“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.”

Todd Geiler, a Prescott resident and member of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, said the incident marked an “especially aggressive, unprovoked attack that reminds us that wildlife can be unpredictable.

“On behalf of the Arizona Game and Fish Commission, and the entire staff of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, we offer our sincere condolences during this difficult time,” he said in a release.

There have been 15 bear attacks on people in Arizona since 1990, with Friday’s tragedy constituting only the second fatal attack since then, according to the department.

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