A black bear was shot and killed by police after it went into a residential area of the Monterey County city of Seaside early this morning, police and state wildlife officials said.

Officers responded around 4 a.m. to Laguna Grande Regional Park, where a taxi driver had spotted the bear, Seaside police Deputy Chief Louis Lumpkin said.

The officers notified state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials about the sighting and tried to keep the bear inside the perimeter of the park, but it wandered away into a nearby residential area before the wildlife officials could respond, Lumpkin said.

The bear could not be contained so out of a concern for public safety, police had to shoot and kill it, Lumpkin said.

Don Kelly, a patrol captain for the state agency, said the male bear was estimated to be about 3 years old and weighed upwards of 300 pounds.

Fish and Wildlife officials will perform a necropsy on the bear, Kelly said.

Lumpkin said the bear sighting was the first he was aware of in the past dozen years in Seaside, while Kelly said his agency responds a couple of times per year to similar sightings in other areas.

“Most of the time we don’t even see it,” Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of this one being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He said the bear had been going into the yards of homes in the area.”

“The Police Department was invoking their responsibility to the community to protect the safety of the public. They’re allowed by law to do and they deemed it necessary,” Kelly said.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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