Officer aims at bear
Mike Derer  /  AP
A police officer aims a shotgun at a black bear that was shot and killed, Wednesday in a back yard in Irvington, N.J.
updated 5/10/2006 7:48:51 PM ET 2006-05-10T23:48:51

A 300-pound black bear that had been wandering urban New Jersey for two days was shot and killed by police Wednesday in a back yard on the edge of Newark after it reared up on his hind legs and appeared ready to charge, authorities said.

Seven shotgun blasts rang out, and the bear slumped to the ground in the small yard where it had been cornered.

The animal had apparently come from the countryside to the west, and its rambles had included the cities of Newark and Irvington — some of the most urban and densely populated areas of the state.

Before the bear was killed, nervous police officers chased three or four youngsters from nearby yards and were becoming increasingly worried that more than 1,000 neighborhood children would soon be walking home from school.

"Good God almighty!" said Wanda Williams, upon learning that a bear had been spotted on her street. "Why would a bear want to be in Newark? Good gracious! I just hope I don't run into it."

Jim Osorio, an animal control officer who gave the order to shoot, said he was ready to fire a tranquilizer dart when the bear assumed an aggressive position. Two officers opened fire with shotguns, police said.

"We were going to tranquilize the animal and try to relocate him," Osorio said. "It did not happen that way. I tried to save the animal."

Noting the bear's size, Irvington Deputy Police Chief Steven Palamara said, "He was jumping over 6-foot fences like they were little curbs."

The bear shooting came only days after a 225-pound bear was caught in downtown Trenton. It was shot by state biologists and was the first bear to be killed as part of the state's no-tolerance policy on bears in densely populated areas.

The Sierra Club asked Gov. Jon S. Corzine on Wednesday to suspend the policy and develop a more humane program for managing the state's bear population.

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