A wild bear snuck up, maimed and killed a man in Arizona as he sat drinking coffee at his campsite, in what authorities are calling an incredibly rare unprovoked attack.
The mutilation – which authorities described as “predatory in nature” – took place in the early hours of Friday morning near Prescott, Arizona.
According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, a huge black bear caught Steve Jackson, 66, off guard as he sat at a table on his property, dragging him down an embankment for 75 feet.
Neighbors reportedly heard Jackson’s calls for help and tried to intervene, but to no avail.
“They tried to get the bear to stop attacking it, there were horns, different things they were doing,” Sheriff David Rhodes said in a statement. “There was no success in stopping the attack.”
The animal only relented when a passerby shot it with a rifle, according to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office. At that point, it was too late.
“Unfortunately, at that time, Mr. Jackson succumbed to his horrific injuries,” Rhodes said.
When local police arrived in the densely wooded area, they found Jackson and the killer bear dead. Estimates put the animal at 300 pounds and between 6 and 10 years old, according to local news station AZFamily.
Jackson, whose family lives in another state, was reportedly in the area to build a cabin on his land.
Authorities called the death highly unusual, noting it was only the second fatal bear attack in Arizona since 1990, with the last occurring in 2011.
The local sheriff’s office couldn’t immediately identify anything at Jackson’s campsite, such as food, that provoked the bear either.
The Department of Game and Fisheries plans to test the animal’s carcass for disease or anything else that may have caused the highly unusual mutilation.
“This was a particularly aggressive and unprovoked attack that reminds us that wildlife can be unpredictable,” Arizona Game and Fish Commission member Todd Geiler said in the department’s statement.
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