Bear kills Arizona man in 'incredibly uncommon, strange circumstance,' officials say

By Michel Marizco
Published: Friday, June 16, 2023 - 3:34pm
Updated: Friday, June 16, 2023 - 4:38pm

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office
The black bear was shot dead by the time investigators arrived.

A 66-year-old Tucson man was killed by a black bear in an unprovoked attack in Yavapai County on Friday morning.

The Yavapai County sheriff’s office started receiving 911 calls shortly before 8 a.m. Friday morning about a man being mauled by the bear. 

Law enforcement found the bear and the man, Steven Jackson, both dead. Jackson had been building a home in a dense wooded area. What happened next, officials said, was not sparked by any known provocation. Kristin Greene with the Sheriff’s Office.

"He was sitting at a table having coffee and somewhere, a bear, a black bear, that is a full-grown male came out of nowhere with no provocation and according to witness statements, attacked Mr. Jackson," she said.

The bear dragged him 75 feet. Neighbors tried honking horns as the victim screamed.

"The bear would not disengage," she said.

A neighbor finally shot the bear dead with a rifle. 

Officials still don’t know what sparked the attack.

"It was a very clean campsite. There was no food out, there was no grease, there was no available water," she said.

There’s been no reports about aggressive bears leading up to this attack.

"As far as we can tell, this is an incredibly uncommon and strange circumstance," she said. 

The bear will be tested for possible sickness. 

Yavapai County Sheriff's Office
Investigator at the scene on June 16, 2023.