Sheriff's deputies who intended to try to scare a bear away from a home at Lake Tahoe Thursday ended up accidentally killing it.
Placer County sheriff's deputies responded to a call at a home in Tahoe City at 620 Goldfield Drive just before noon after a passerby saw the bear entering a residence.
The bear exited the residence and started to walk away, but then stopped and began eating food it had taken from the home.
A deputy prepared a bear aversion kit, loading into a shotgun what were supposed to be blanks, Sheriff's Capt. Rick Armstrong said.
Unfortunately, a live round was mistakenly placed in the gun so when the deputy fired, it struck the bear and killed it, Armstrong said.
The practice of loading the aversion rounds with live rounds is normal procedure, but in this case the order of fire was accidentally reversed, he said.
Ann Bryant of the Lake Tahoe Bear League, a nonprofit group that works to protect bears, confirmed the shooting was an accident.
"The Placer County Sheriff's department has cooperated with the bear aversion program and on literally hundreds of occasions have successfully scared the bears away," Bryant said.
"These incidents are an unfortunate byproduct of bears interacting with people," she said.
Armstrong said the sheriff's department will address the incident with updated training and working with the makers of the aversion kits to try to avoid such accidents in the future.