Mountain Lion Shot Dead in Downtown Santa Monica

Residents angered by shooting of big cat
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 23, 2012 1:00 AM CDT
Mountain Lion Shot Dead in Downtown Santa Monica
This image provided by the Santa Monica Police Department shows a mountain lion cornered yesterday.   (AP Photo/Santa Monica Police Department)

Things didn't end well for a young mountain lion who made his way through miles of urban landscape to downtown Santa Monica yesterday. After the janitor of an office complex stumbled across the cat, police officers made several attempts to subdue it using tranquilizing darts, nonlethal bullets and a fire hose before shooting it dead, angering animal lovers in the California city, reports the Los Angeles Times.

"Everybody is so devastated about this," said one resident shocked to hear that the lion was shot dead near where she attends art class. "I'm just so sad. This could happen again. Are they going to shoot animals every time this happens?" Cops defended the shooting, saying there was a preschool across the street and shoppers nearby. State officials say it's highly unusual for a mountain lion to wander into an urban area. A National Park Service biologist suspects that the young cat had moved away from the Santa Monica range in a doomed attempt to establish its own territory. (More California stories.)

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