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Sheriff: Albertville Man Shoots, Kills Black Bear In Yard

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A man shot and killed a black bear in Albertville Tuesday night after it was spotted in his yard while his daughter was outside playing, according to the Wright County Sheriff’s Office.

Authorities received a call at about 7:45 p.m. that a black bear had been seen on the 10000 block of 64th Street NE in Albertville. The caller, Lawrence Engstrom, told authorities the bear walked up to their sliding glass door in the back yard.

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office responded to the area and located the bear near a residence on the 10000 block of Karston Ave. NE. Shortly after arriving, an officer heard a single gunshot and saw the bear running towards a wooded area behind the residence.

The bear collapsed to the ground and was found dead from a single gunshot wound.

Engstrom told authorities his daughter had been playing in the back yard when he saw the bear come out of the woods and approach his residence. Fearing for his family’s safety, he retrieved his hunting rifle and shot the bear.

Mary Engstrom, who is not related to Lawrence, walks with the six or seven kids in her daycare every day near the area. Earlier Tuesday, they saw a couple coyotes, which was startling enough.

“I’m sorry that the bear is gone, but in the same sense, you know, little children around here,” Engstrom said. “It’s very scary.”

Neighbors say they don’t like the thought of bears or gunfire around these homes. But most seem to support Engstrom and the action he took.

“I think it was very courageous of him,” said neighbor Michael Kelly. “He did a very heroic job.”

WCCO tried to speak with Engstrom, but he was not home Wednesday. He’s also told his neighbors that he doesn’t want to be interviewed.

A DNR official says if a bear comes on your land and is destroying property, or if you fear for your safety or the safety of others, you are allowed to shoot.

They added that bear sightings in Albertville are not unusual. But what is unusual is that Engstrom gets to keep the bear for consumption because of the situation, and that there were no DNR officers in the area to take custody of the bear Tuesday night.

When a DNR officer arrived Wednesday morning, the bear had already been butchered.

Capt. Greg Salo with DNR said there are about four to six bear sightings in the metro each spring. This year the same bear was spotted in at least three different cities.

“They’re kind of nomadic, so they travel city to city to city. Typically they’re young male bears about 120 to 130 lbs. that are kind of searching for new territory,” Salo said.

Salo said bears generally follow a waterway.

“So the Mississippi, the St. Croix, the Minnesota River. It’s just like a natural highway for wildlife,” Salo said.

That may have been what led the bear to the Albertville neighbhorhood.

The Wright County Sheriff’s Office and the DNR said they consider the case closed and no further action will be taken.

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