Mountain Lion Shot, Killed Near Shattuck Avenue

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Officers from the Berkeley Police Department shot and killed a mountain lion after tracking it through a North Berkeley neighborhood early Tuesday morning.

The lion was first reported to BPD and the Berkeley Fire Department at approximately 2:13 a.m. by a community member who spotted it in a vacant parking lot in the area near the intersection of Shattuck Avenue and Cedar Street, according to a police announcement.

After arriving at the scene, officers chased the lion through backyards and streets before being dispatched by an officer at about 3:26 a.m. near 1630 Walnut St., the announcement states.

Patrick Foy, a game warden and spokesperson with the California Department of Fish and Game, said it was impossible to speculate why the lion was in an urban environment.

"It's not even close to where you would expect to find a lion," he said. "To have it right in the heart of Berkeley is very uncommon."

When officers first spotted the lion, it ran eastbound on Cedar before going southbound down Spruce Street where it leaped over a fence and into the playground of All Souls Episcopal Church. It then jumped another fence into the backyard of a residential home.

Officers instructed the home's residents to remain sheltered inside and set up a perimeter around the property, the announcement states.

The lion was then seen moving west through the perimeter to Oxford Street with officers in pursuit.

After following the lion west to Walnut, where it had entered another residential backyard, officers fired two shots from a patrol rifle.

According to the announcement, the lion then advanced toward officers and into another residence's driveway, where it was shot dead by an officer with a patrol shotgun.

Berkeley police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said despite the "sensitive nature" of the shooting, the department was "confident" that officers took the correct course of action.

"BPD believed that this mountain lion posed a significant public safety threat," the announcement reads. "BPD officers who have to dispatch animals find it challenging, but it is part of our duty to protect the community."

A warden from Fish and Game was present to remove and dispose of the lion's body and identified it as a female weighing approximately 90 to 100 pounds, according to the announcement.


Nick Myers is the assistant city news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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