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Oregon man accidentally kills his brother while preparing to shoot bear, then fatally shoots self

An Oregon man trying to protect his home from a bear instead fatally shot his brother by mistake, then turned the gun on himself moments later, authorities say.

The man called 911 about 7:00am on Tuesday and told dispatchers he had “accidentally shot his brother while loading a gun” after being startled by the bear, according to Josephine County Undersheriff Travis Snyder.

“This is a terrible set of circumstances that took place,” Snyder said. “It’s a tragedy.”




Deputies rushed to his home and found a man dead from a gunshot wound.

They checked the rural residence, which sits in a gulch just south of wooded hills, and found a second man dead. He had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the undersheriff said.

While no bear was found at the scene, deputies examined the bullet trajectories and other physical evidence, Snyder said, and heard obvious signs of distress in the recorded 911 call. The undersheriff is confident the initial shooting was accidental.



“I would never be surprised to see a bear in that particular part of our county. We have bears everywhere down here,” Snyder told reporters. “This time of year is when they’re getting out of bed and looking for things to eat.”

Oregon is home to some 25,000 black bears, according to the Josephine County Parks Department, which warns residents living in “bear country” to keep food and garbage secured and to slowly walk away if approached by a bear.

Oregon State Police and local deputies continue to investigate the shootings.