Officer shoots mountain lion who ‘came at him’ in downtown Salt Lake City

A mountain lion like this one was spotted near Oakridge Elementary School. File photo: National Park Service

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Aug. 1, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A police officer shot and killed a mountain lion early Tuesday morning when it “came at him” after it had been shot with a tranquilizer dart.

The mountain lion was spotted by a Gold Cross ambulance crew near 15 South and 500 East at approximately 3 a.m., SLCPD Detective Greg Wilking told Gephardt Daily. Officers arrived and cornered the mountain lion near an unoccupied building, Wilking said.

Representatives from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources were called to the area with the aim of tranquilizing and relocating the mountain lion, Wilking said.

When the DWR biologist shot the mountain lion with a tranquilizer dart, the animal got up and “came at” an officer, Wilking said, ultimately getting extremely close to him.

The officer shot and killed the mountain lion, concerned that the animal might run into a residential neighborhood.

Wilking said the X-factor in the situation was that effectiveness of the tranquilizer depends on the animal, and in this case, the tranquilizer did not immediately have an effect.

He added that when mountain lions enter cities or residential areas, it usually means that something is wrong and the animal may be sick.

“They are hunting for easy prey,” Wilking said. “An abundance of easy pickings, like small dogs, cats, and in a case like this, there is concern if the animal enters a residential neighborhood.”

Wilking said it’s not yet known if the mountain lion was male or female.

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