A 150-pound bear that broke into a Tahoe home, trapping a woman in her bedroom, was killed Monday by two sheriff’s deputies who fired 15 rounds from semiautomatic rifles as the bear charged them.
Douglas County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Mezzetta said the deputies who responded to Maria Cooper’s 911 call for help opened fire after they walked up a narrow staircase to an elevated deck and saw the bear, which had been eating bananas in the living room, come out of the house toward them.
One officer fired a single round into the bear, which ran to the side of the deck and then turned and charged, Mezzetta said.
“They had nowhere to go but 25 feet to the ground below,” Mezzetta said in explaining why both deputies then opened fire with their AR-15 rifles. The bear died about six feet from them.
Carl Lackey, a Nevada Fish and Game bear expert, said the bear, about 18 months old, had caused problems before and had been caught and released in mountains above Cave Rock two months ago.
Cooper was shaken but unharmed. A sliding glass door had been torn open by the bear, and there was damage to the deck and slight damage to the home’s interior caused as the bear foraged through a refrigerator.
Mezzetta said three nearby homes had trash cans placed at curbside for pickup the following day. Because bears are attracted to garbage, authorities say trash cans shouldn’t be put out until scheduled collection days.