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Bear Shooter says he was in Fear

The man who shot and killed the bear Monday afternoon in West Asheville wants people to know he was afraid.

"I didn't shoot the bear just to be shooting it," said Eric, who asked WLOS to withhold his last name as his family has endured taunts and harassment since the incident. "I didn't shoot the bear to be mean. I shot it because he was being aggressive to everybody."

Eric was outside with his daughter spreading gravel when a neighbor spotted the bear.

"That's when the neighbor started yelling, Bear, Bear, Bear!" said Eric.

He wants people to know neighbors around him witnessed the bear getting increasingly aggressive, growling and unafraid of people.

"When I came out he showed his teeth at me, growled at me, and started to act like he was gonna charge me," said Eric.

While he said the bear had been aggressive, other neighbors enjoyed watching the bear in the neighborhood and felt he showed no signs that he would harm anyone. It's why there was significant public outcry by other neighbors about the shooting. Wildlife officers have been questioning neighbors, and Eric about the incident. They are scheduled to meet with Buncombe County prosecutor Ron Moore Wednesday. Moore tells News 13 he expects to be able to make a statement on the case and whether charges could be filed against Eric by the afternoon. 

Eric also said people tried to get help to report problems with the bear making regular appearances in the neighborhood but he said they were turned down.

"I have two or three neighbors who said they called wildlife and police and they said there is nothing they can do about it and nothing they will do about bears around the neighborhood," said Eric

News 13 spoke with Sgt. Billy Rogers, with North Carolina Wildlife enforcement who confirmed that protocol.

"Trapping a bear is not an option," said Rogers. "It is not our policy to relocate wildlife of any kind."

Eric also said his family has had to deal with taunts by prank callers to their home and drivers going by their home.

"We had cars stop in the road today, and they asked me who shot the bear and I told him I did.  He then shouted out some remarks," said Eric. In North Carolina an individual has a right to shoot a bear if they feel their life or property is in danger. While there is a city ordinance making it illegal to fire a weapon in Asheville the statute is waived if the shot or shots are fired in self-defense. The bear was killed with a  single shot to it's vital area in the chest.

"I understand there are people who care about animals and I care about animals too," said Eric. "But animals and people sometimes they don't mix and they get aggressive and when you have kids involved, sometimes it leaves people with no choice."

By Kimberly King

Follow Kim on Twitter @KimKingReports


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