Gatlinburg, TN – A man now faces charges after he shot at a black bear six times.
53-year-old Gregory Sapp and his wife were staying at a Motel 6 when he says a black bear charged at them on the 2nd floor of the motel around 11:20 PM. Fearing for his and his wife’s life, he shot at the bear six times, possibly hitting it once.
Sapp spoke to WVLT News the following day and said it attacked them as soon as he walked out of his room.
“It was either me or the bear and I chose me.”
The black bear ran off into the nearby woods and has not been found.
But now, Sapp has been charged with illegal discharge of a weapon and reckless endangerment.
In all the reports I have found on this story, there have been no other witnesses other than Sapp. But most of the interviews seem to imply that he shouldn’t have shot the bear.
A few residents said this was a “neighborhood bear” that everyone knows. One resident said that the bear never hurt anyone or any animals. She and other residents have said that he shouldn’t have shot the bear if it wasn’t attacking him.
But Sapp says it was attacking him. So which is it?
In the video below, the reporter says that if the bear was aggressive, then the shooting may be justified. But they haven’t found the bear to see how many shots hit it yet.
But how does the number of shots that hit it have anything to do with whether it was aggressive or not? I’m no expert, but how exactly are you supposed to prove one way or the other without a witness of camera footage of the incident?
I’m not siding one way or the other. There’s a lot of variables here that we don’t know. But I should note that black bear attacks are very rare.
Black bears rarely attack when confronted by humans, and usually limit themselves to making mock charges, emitting blowing noises and swatting the ground with their forepaws. However, according to Stephen Herrero in his Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance, 23 people were killed by black bears from 1900 to 1980. via WIKIPEDIA
Okay. But how does a normal everyday person tell the difference between a mock charge and a real charge? What would you do if you walked out of your 2nd-floor hotel room and saw a black bear?
If I had the time to step back into my room, that’s probably my first option. Then you could call for help and hold up in the room. Worst case, the bear comes crashing through the door. If that happens, I’m pretty sure it would be a justified shooting. That is obviously very rare, but hey, bears have broken into houses before.
So what are your thoughts on this? Should be have been charged? Comment below.