Man Shooting at Bear Accidentally Kills His Brother… Then Shoots Himself
An Oregon man trying to ward off a bear from his home accidentally shot and killed his brother and then apparently took his own life, authorities said Wednesday.
The unidentified man called 911 just before 7 a.m. on Tuesday and told dispatchers he had “accidentally shot his brother while loading a gun because there was a bear on their property,” according to a statement by Josephine County Undersheriff Travis Snyder.
Deputies responded to the residence in Sunny Valley and found a man dead from a gunshot wound, Snyder said. While checking the rest of the home, they found a second man dead. That man had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the undersheriff said.
“Based upon the investigation, it is believed the caller took his own life after calling 911 to report the accidental shooting,” Snyder said.
Officials did not immediately identify either man.
Detectives from the Oregon State Police are assisting with the investigation of the case, which will be forwarded to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office.
In 2019, 486 Americans died from unintentional firearm injuries — about 1.2% of total gun deaths, according to data compiled by The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.
While Oregon is known as “black bear country,” attacks are still relatively “uncommon,” according to local wildlife officials. The state is home as many as 30,000 black bears. The agency urges homeowners to keep pet food, garbage and other items inside to “avoid potentially dangerous encounters.”
“In most cases, a bear will avoid human contact,” according to a brochure from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “It is never safe to approach a bear.”
Several people responded to the sheriff department’s Facebook statement on the incident while sending their prayers to relatives of the two men.
“Oh gosh this is heartbreaking,” one woman replied.