“It was heavy-hearted. … Less-than-lethal weapons have the potential to turn lethal if not applied to perfection, and this is an example of that.” –Police Chief Brian Olson
A Snowmass Police officer responded to a call involving a bear and her two cubs that got into a delivery of Doritos and potato chips left near a stairwell at Snowmass Mall around 10 p.m. on Friday. Aspen Times reports the officer attempted to haze the bears and struck the mother in the backside with a beanbag round deployed from a shotgun. The mother ran away but the cubs stuck around.
The officer then tried to hit one of the cubs in the backside with another bean bag round but it turned and the beanbag hit the cub’s stomach area, penetrating it causing serious injury.
“The officer was by themselves so they called in more staff and tracked the cub immediately to safely put it down.”
Police Chief Olson estimates that at least 100 beanbags have been successfully deployed this year as a less than lethal option to keep bears out of potential conflict areas but sadly in this case the beanbag proved lethal.
“This summer was no different than years past; we fought long and hard to keep bears out of trouble. It’s a real bummer this particular situation ended the way it did.”
Snowmass Police are investigating the source of the undelivered chips left on the mall and could issue a fine or ticket as a result. Olson acknowledged this is not the intended outcome of beanbag rounds and hopes to raise awareness not to leave unattended food around town to avoid future incidents.
“You can’t leave food out like that, and if you see something, say something. I think we could do a better job as a community to pay attention to small things like that.”images from SnowmassPolice FB