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Neighbors react to bear killed in West St. Paul

Police believe they killed an injured bear that had been wandering the southeast metro.
Authorities are on the hunt for a black bear spotting roaming around Savage.

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WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. - Police believed they have killed a bear that has been spotted wandering the southeast metro for more than two weeks.

The bear was seen wandering through neighborhoods in Savage in May. Police shot it in the leg but they only injured the bear.

After possible sightings in Eagan and Burnsville, a bear was killed early Saturday morning in an alley off of Bernard Street West, near Charlton Street alongside West St. Paul's Harmon Park.

The bear was just steps from where Tony Yekaldo was working in his garage.

"All of a sudden I heard like a backfire from a car. Well, I walked out and the officer had shot it. There was a bear," Yekaldo said.

"It wasn't a full size bear. It was a juvenile. I've seen bigger ones," said Yekaldo's neighbor, Kevin Peterson.

Yekaldo was upset that the bear was killed.

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"They wouldn't let me near it. But when I saw it just quit moving," he said. "I walked over, knelt down and just rubbed its snout and said to myself, 'It will be OK.'"

West St. Paul Police confirmed the bear had an injury to its left rear foot and in a statement the department said officers believed, "the public would be at serious risk."

The statement said there was "no opportunity to call for a tranquilizer gun to respond and the officers had a grave concern the bear might flee to an even more populated area before the animal control officer could have responded."

Peterson believes in shooting the already injured bear, police did the right thing.

"I can understand people being upset but they can't let him live like that either," Peterson said.

West St. Paul Police believe this bear was the same one shot by a Savage officer.

The bear was given to a West St. Paul hunter for the meat and hide.