PRESCOTT, Ariz. – At least one person died Friday morning after a bear attack in the Groom Creek area of Prescott. Arizona, on Friday morning, officials said.
Update 7:50 p.m. EDT June 16: The Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office provided an update Friday evening. The person who died was identified as Steven Jackson, 66. Just before 8 a.m., dispatch received calls that a man was being mauled by a bear. Once deputies and Prescott Police Department arrived, they found Jackson deceased and a bear deceased nearby.
Witnesses told the sheriff’s office that Jackson was sitting and having some coffee at a table by a house he was building when he was attacked by a male black bear. The bear dragged Jackson about 75 feet down an embankment.
Neighbors reportedly heard Jackson screaming. They honked their horns and shouted to scare the bear away but according to KTVK, the bear didn’t let go of Jackson. One of the neighbors grabbed a rifle and proceeded to shoot the animal.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department estimated the black bear to be 6 to 10 years old, the news outlet reported.
“The location where the attack occurred was not near recreational sites for camping, but officials still caution revelers to take precautions when camping, such as locking up food in a vehicle and not leaving out items such as toothpaste that may bring a bear to your campsite,” the sheriff’s office said.
“Our sincere sympathies go out to Mr. Jackson’s family,” said Sheriff David Rhodes in the statement. “I cannot express how deeply sad this situation is and can only say our prayers are with you.”
Original story: In a statement, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said that, based on early information, one person is dead.
Investigators are still working to gather additional information on how exactly the attack happened, according to KTVK. Authorities said there is no threat to the public.
The bear has been killed, the sheriff’s office confirmed, and the Arizona Game and Fish officials were heading to the scene Friday.
The name of the victim has not yet been released.
Bear attacks are uncommon in Arizona and throughout the rest of the country, KTVK reported. In 2012, the USDA reported that there were only about 10 attacks that have been documented in the state since the 1990s.