Investigators identify suspect in bear shooting

November 23, 2010

By Warren Kagarise

State Department of Fish and Wildlife investigators last week identified the person believed to be responsible for shooting a black bear in Issaquah in mid-November.

Veterinarians later euthanized the bear cub, because a bullet wound had left the animal paralyzed.

State wildlife agents had not released the name of the suspect by Nov. 22. Capt. Bill Heibner credited residents in the neighborhood near Highlands Drive Northeast and Southeast Black Nugget Road for offering tips to aid the investigation.

“We did have help, not just from neighbors, but also from others in the community that had heard or seen things,” he said. “That was extremely helpful in this investigation, and we appreciate the public’s support for giving us tips and leads like that.”

The information gathered during the investigation is to be sent to the King County Prosecutor’s Office to determine if charges should be filed. Heibner said the information should be sent to prosecutors in the next several days.

The state classifies unlawful hunting of big game as a felony. Upon conviction, the Department of Fish and Wildlife revokes all hunting licenses or tags, and suspends the violator’s hunting privileges for 10 years. The penalty also includes a $2,000 fine.

Though the state classifies the black bear as a game animal, killing a black bear in self-defense, or to defend someone else, should be reasonable and justified. The bear must pose a threat of serious physical harm.

Heibner said any eventual penalty hinges on any charges filed by King County prosecutors.

State wildlife agents tranquilized and captured the bear Nov. 11 after a homeowner reported a trapped bear in a creek on the property. The animal was then transported to PAWS in Lynnwood for treatment.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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