LONGWOOD, Fla. — Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers are investigating the shooting of a black bear in a Longwood neighborhood Tuesday.

  • Shooting occurred in Sweetwater Oaks neighborhood
  • Homeowner told deputies bear charged at him and his daughter
  • State law prohibits shooting black bears except when in fear for one's life

Seminole County deputies say they responded to a home on Thistlewood Circle in the Sweetwater Oaks neighborhood after the homeowner told deputies he was forced to shoot a black bear. 

The man told deputies the bear charged at him and his daughter while they were near their garage.  

It's illegal in Florida to shoot a black bear except in cases where someone is in fear of their life, wildlife officials say.

People who live in the neighborhood say they often see bears coming out of the woods behind their homes, but they usually aren’t aggressive.

“We see them quite often over here,” said Alex Ray, who lives next door to the family involved in the incident. “There are times where I’m coming home and I see them walking right here. Obviously, I get in the house real quick.”

Ray says luckily he’s never felt like he had to resort to violence to protect himself. However, he understands why his neighbor felt like he needed to protect himself and his family.

“It’s sad something like that has to happen, but you’ve got to do what you have to do in a certain situation,” Ray said.

FWC hasn't commented further on the investigation, only confirming that an investigation is taking place.

Ray said his family takes steps to try to prevent potentially dangerous encounters with black bears by waiting to take out the trash.

“We’ve always got to take the garbage out that morning instead of the night before, or your trash will be all over your yard,” said Ray.

Spectrum News 13 tried to reach the family involved in the incident for comment on this story, but we were unsuccessful.

FWC has numerous tips for people who live near black bears. To learn more, visit http://myfwc.com/bear/