INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. (KOLO) -- More than 5,500 people have signed a petition demanding answers after a Washoe County Sheriff's deputy opened fire on a bear in Incline Village. Sunday, that bear died from her injuries.
An incident that took place in the neighborhood of Driver Way and Village Boulevard the morning of May 6, 2017 is hard to come to grips with for residents.
"I was heartbroken," said Sarah Ladeira, Incline Village resident.
"It's tragic because we don't understand why a live round was used on a bear," said Bill Ferrall, Bear League volunteer.
Sunday morning, Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) delivered the news the popular bear, which had lived in the area for more than ten years; died after it was accidentally shot with a live round by a Washoe County Sheriff's deputy, instead of a rubber bullet. The Sheriff office had identify this group of bears as food aggressive.
"We have known Jasper for so long, it's like losing any pet you might have. We love Jasper! She was a great mother and great community member," said Ferrall.
The community named the bear “Jasper” and there is a book written about her. She was shot in front of her three cubs. NDOW says she sustained too much internal damage and the cubs are old enough to be on their own.
After the news broke of Jasper’s death, many took to the internet to sign a petition on change.org that asks Sheriff Chuck Allen to investigate whether any action was necessary, why non-lethal means were not used as a first response, was NDOW engaged during the incident and how the deputy couldn't distinguish between a live round and a rubber bullet.
"I have personally chased bears even as early as this morning without having to use ammunition or without having to use any kind of force,” said Ferrall.
"This is not something that should be forgotten and swept under the rug because it's just an animal,” said Ladeira.
Sheriff Allen did release this statement:
"I am saddened to hear of the passing of the bear from yesterday's incident in Incline Village involving one of our deputies. We appreciate the efforts made by the Nevada Department of Wildlife. The Sheriff's Office will thoroughly review the incident and take whatever measures are deemed appropriate."
Ferrall says he respects what the sheriff's office does for the community, but it's unfortunate this incident took place.