Cornered inside a storage closet at this east Bakersfield apartment complex, the bear began to snarl and growl.
An animal control officer armed with a tazer and snare pole and a sheriff's deputy armed with a shotgun kept the bear at bay until backup arrived. They tazed the animal several times as it pawed at the snare looped around its neck.
"They took two of them and some tazers. Were you thinking they were going to have to shoot this bear possible? Oh yeah, especially after they tazed it once and had one pole on it, it wasn't calming down," says Michael McCaslin, maintenance worker.
Maintenance workers spotted the 2-3 year old bear as they painted outside the complex around 9:30 Thursday morning.
What were your first thoughts? That it was an ugly dog. That it couldn't be a bear. But it was a bear!
Minutes earlier, the bear was caught on surveillance video scampering across the parking lot between Garza Elementary and Sierra Middle School. "Some girls came in running, uh there's a bear in front of the school. It ran through the elementary school playground before heading to the apartments across the street," says Teresa Arambula, principal Garza Elementary.
The 100-125 pound bear startled students. "We saw a bear, a really big bear. Not it was small!" And put administrators on alert as they locked down both campuses. Sierra was in the middle of its graduation ceremony. "I stopped the teacher from reading the names that time. I said it's a bear ladies and gentleman, just relax."
Sierra Middle School is home of the Spartans. And Garza students are the Lions. Apparently this bear was just a little confused. No chance of renaming? "Wouldn't that be something."
Now it's the bear? "No, i don't think so." This real life bear encounter was no fairy tale. But this story does have a happy ending. The bear was captured with just minor injuries and released by Fish and Game back into the wild.