Man Accidentally Shoots Brother in Bear Encounter, Then Kills Himself

Man Accidentally Shoots Brother in Bear Encounter, Then Kills Himself

In a tragic event in the early morning of Feb. 8, an Oregon man saw a black bear near his house then accidentally shot his brother while loading a gun to defend them. According to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, the man then apparently turned the gun on himself before officers could arrive.

“Upon arrival, Deputies located a deceased male from an apparent gunshot wound,” Undersheriff Travis Snyder stated in the incident report. “While checking the rest of the residence, a second deceased male was located with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Authorities seem understandably baffled by the event and are releasing few details at this time.

“Based upon the investigation, it is believed the caller took his own life after calling 911 to report the accidental shooting,” Snyder stated. “This case is still under investigation and will be forwarded to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. Sheriff’s Office Detectives were assisted by Detectives from the Oregon State Police.”

Placer, Oregon, is an unincorporated community 20 miles north of Grants Pass and a few miles off Interstate 5. Founded around gold mining but now considered a ghost town, the string of mostly large houses and properties follow along Grave Creek heading into the mountains and vast BLM timber lands.

With such sparse information and no witnesses, it’s difficult to speculate on the complete picture of what occurred here. Oregon is home to an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, according to ODFW, and allows hunting on a limited-entry basis. Based on the location it is highly plausible a bear was on that particular property, though the Sheriff’s Office shows no recent reports of bears causing problems in the area. Panic can lead to terrible mistakes, and gun safety must never, ever, be ignored. MeatEater sends its condolences to the family of these men.

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