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Police closed down a section of Second Street in Santa Monica after a baby mountain lion was spotted. It was later shot and killed after attempting to jump out of the courtyard where it was cornered.
KTLA5
Police closed down a section of Second Street in Santa Monica after a baby mountain lion was spotted. It was later shot and killed after attempting to jump out of the courtyard where it was cornered.

News, Santa Monica, Police Department

Baby Mountain Lion Shot And Killed In Downtown Santa Monica

Baby Mountain Lion Shot And Killed In Downtown Santa Monica

Posted May. 22, 2012, 2:06 am

Brenton Garen / Editor-in-Chief

Updated Tuesday, May 22 - 3:40 p.m.

Santa Monica police officers shot and killed a 75-pound, three-year-old male mountain lion in the courtyard of 1227 Second Street in Downtown Santa Monica on Tuesday morning.

Police and California Department of Fish and Game wardens had been at the scene since about 6 a.m. after a janitor saw the baby mountain lion in the courtyard of the building, which is home to SMC Emeritus College and a yoga studio.

SMPD Lt. Robert Almada told The Mirror that attempts were made to immobilize the animal with non-lethal force.

"We deployed a tranquilizer and the tranquilizer was ineffective," Almada told The Mirror. "So then the animal attempted to charge out of the courtyard. We then deployed a pepper ball gun, which was less lethal, but that was ineffective. We attempted to use high-pressured fire hoses, but that was ineffective. The animal attempted to continue to flee the courtyard and enter the public area, and at that point we deployed lethal force from our firearms and the animal was killed."

Almada said the Fish and Game wardens were the ones to fire the tranquilizer dart that was ineffective.

"Our officers fired both the pepper ball and then eventually the firearms," he said.

Almada said it appeared the wild animal wandered into Downtown Santa Monica from the Santa Monica mountains.

Madeline Bernstein, President of spcaLA, asserts that an investigation should be conducted into the procedures and training protocols required for safely interacting and subduing wildlife.

“Basically, they agitated and frightened a cornered cat before they killed her,” Bernstein said. “Hosing a Mountain Lion down and then shooting her with pepper-balls only served to make her more frenzied. Deadly force should be used only as a last resort. The citizens and wildlife of California deserve better.”

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Comments

May. 24, 2012, 6:53:21 am

PH said...

You corner a wild animal, fire pepper balls at it, spray it with water, and then wonder why it charges........... unbelievably poor decision making on someone's part.

May. 22, 2012, 3:07:06 am

RF said...

No...they killed her?! How can this be, in our city of Santa Monica....no.... :(

May. 22, 2012, 3:12:26 am

Monica Bey said...

This is a tragedy; there are so few of these cats. Of course I wasn't there and second-guessing is just that ... but it's a wild animal, I can't imagine trying to "immobilize the mountain lion with water hoses" would have been very effective. Very unfortunate it couldn't be tranquilized, and very unfortunate that more effort wasn't made to keep it alive. This is very, very sad and disappointing.

May. 22, 2012, 3:17:22 am

Mindy Beardsley said...

Seems to be the protocol for Police and Fish and Game - makes it easier for them to just shoot and kill. This is ridiculous and I am outraged. This happened in Sunland on 4/24 and they learned nothing from that?!!! Why is it okay for F

May. 22, 2012, 3:25:32 am

Roberta said...

I am utterly horrified that no better solution could be found to rescue a lost baby mountain lion than to kill it. As another poster said - in our city of Santa Monica?? Where we ban plastic bags to preserve marine life -- we shoot baby mountain lions who stumble into our business district??? Hugely disappointed in the Dep't of Fish and Game.

May. 22, 2012, 3:29:03 am

Darin Tillinghast said...

Disgusting, its humans that must stop overpopulation, the mountain lions should have been long protected. I had several living in peace by a place I had many years ago in the hills above Malibu. That is sickening that they killed that baby, Shame on you Santa Monica. You could have spent the time and resources but obviously too lazy and stupid to take proper care of a living thing that has the same right to exist as humanity and I dare say more so!

May. 22, 2012, 3:35:49 am

Nanci said...

I am aghast at the police response to this. Certainly they could have kept people inside, dropped a net from a helicopter, or tried to shoot from a 2nd floor office. Apparently it never got out of the courtyard where it was found. The only reason a wild animal would wander into a city is because of over development and lack of terrain.

May. 22, 2012, 3:36:58 am

chad said...

they killed it! are you serious? cowards. no surprise. the worthless santa monica cops must not have had enough kids on skateboards to haras or parking tickets to give out. I work in an office building across the street. We have been watching the entire thing. Since 6am there has been at least 10 squad cars, an ambulance, at least 3 fish and game, firemen, every parking enforcement person in Santa Monica. 3 and a half hours of these Government employees standing around. Here's the kicker...there were at least 6 shots fired. 6 shots and all those people to take down a corned, 75 lbs mountain lion? And why? Get a f**kng net. and learn how to aim a gun. morons

May. 22, 2012, 3:43:51 am

Jay veterinarian technician said...

I'm not sure what tranquilizer pellets are, but I'm sure a tranquilizer dart would have subdued the animal. Not sure while wildlife fishing game would not have a tranquilizer dart. Instead of pellets. And a water hose that's just ridiculous. That's no way to subdue any wild animal. This was plain old disrespect to a lion, baby or otherwise I'm outraged that this could happen in any city!!!!!

May. 22, 2012, 3:53:31 am

Maria Fotopoulos said...

I just looked up the California Dept. of Fish

May. 22, 2012, 3:59:12 am

rosa fernandes said...

very sad to hear it was a baby mountain lion... in SA all attempts would have been made to save its life, not end it..... very heartsore story

May. 22, 2012, 4:02:44 am

Maria Fotopoulos said...

Part of my note was cut off ... sorry. Here is the contact info. for the Dept. of Fish

May. 22, 2012, 4:10:59 am

Justine said...

I am completely outraged and disgusted by this horrible act of cowardice.

May. 22, 2012, 4:12:30 am

Candyce said...

This is so very sad. A BABY mountain lion, smaller than some dogs - and it couldn't be subdued? Capturing much larger and more dangerous animals, and returning them "home" is done often, in a variety of situations. It sounds like a rapid response of human fear, and I can only imagine how terrified the mountain lion must have been.

May. 22, 2012, 4:17:33 am

Harriet L. Ratner said...

Haven't they heard of tranquilizers? Seems most police too trigger happy

May. 22, 2012, 4:20:26 am

Justine said...

Thank you Maria Fotopoulos, for posting the email to the director of Fish and Game and encouraging people to contact him. I just sent my email there as well.

May. 22, 2012, 4:26:39 am

AJ said...

I hope that an updated report of the incident will reflect that more of an effort was made to preserve the life of this animal. As it stands, it sounds as though the animal was terrified by pellets, water hose, and then shot. What exactly was spraying it with a hose supposed to do other than make it panic? Without more info, I am totally disgusted by SMPD and the wardens. I respect them wanting to protect the public and the difficult choice they were faced with...but water hoses? Really?

May. 22, 2012, 4:39:26 am

np said...

They couldnt figure out in so many hours the standard procedures to tranquilize a wild animal? or for that matter just to simple use common sense? Water hosing the scared creature makes no sense to anybody w/half one cell brain! Why do we pay such high taxes in Santa Monica? Do we pay for big muscles/guns and no brains? Outraged!

May. 22, 2012, 4:50:07 am

George said...

Fish and Game local office that covers Santa Monica: 562-596-3885 or 562-342-7100 If you are a taxpayer and are sickened that they tortured and killed this poor animal. Please be nice to the people who answers the phone, as they are not the ones who did this cruel act. :)

May. 22, 2012, 4:54:37 am

avijlove said...

this is sad!

May. 22, 2012, 4:56:42 am

Santa Monican said...

Don't let the plastic bag bans and green programs fool you. Santa Monica only cares about the $$$ and people with it. Poor people want education? Pepper spray them! Got a wild animal in your fancy office? Kill, but make sure you torture it first! Santa Monica has blood on it's hands. I am ashamed of my city today.

May. 22, 2012, 5:09:08 am

Anita said...

I began watching this about 8:15am., wondering how

May. 22, 2012, 5:12:19 am

Cristina said...

I'm upset and saddened for the loss of such a magnificent animal. This "shoot to kill" mentality is the wrong reaction. This reaction is repeatedly happening all over when it comes to the Dept of Fish

May. 22, 2012, 5:16:20 am

Carmen Gentry said...

SHAME ON YOU SMPD!!!!! The animal was trapped, frightened, and unsure of it's surroundings....and your solution was to KILL it???!!! I am appalled and quite sad that more effort was not extended, by ALL involved, to tranquilize this baby and return it to the mountains. Shame on you all!!!

May. 22, 2012, 5:23:04 am

Corinne said...

One baby mountain lion up against a ton of humans with weapons. This is absolutely shameful. What a sad day.

May. 22, 2012, 7:14:34 am

we got your point Ciara said...

We got your point Ciara - take your anger out constructively by calling SMPD and Fish and Game and letting them know this is unacceptable.

May. 22, 2012, 7:48:45 am

Leeann Allen said...

This is a crime against nature, come on people. Charges should be brought up on the ass that shot her. Why the hell wasnt a vet called in to tranquilize her and remove her safely. That is the question????!!!!

May. 22, 2012, 8:00:46 am

DJAinSD said...

Wow! This should have never happened. No one was at risk. It was secured all it took was one dart. All these iddiots will recieve a medal of valor from the city at the tax payers expenese. Job well Done!!!

May. 22, 2012, 5:46:33 am

Dale Basler said...

Another pretend safari hunt for the cops in santa monica. I'll bet they had their picture taken with it. Fish and game, it is a game to you. Isn't it? I've been involved in animal rescues, and there was no need for the animal to be terminated. You obviousely didn't have the right dosage of tranquilizer. Maybe next time you'll get it right. If sm police haven't killed it yet You people make me sick. How would you like to be hunted? And to your mayor, I will make sure none of my friends or visiters will come to your city. They don't mention anything about being sorry. Anyone can pull a trigger, it takes "smart" people to capture an animal unharmed. My old group would have it tranquilized in an hour, moved to a rehab center for observation, and released the next morning. How come you "pros" couldn't do that? IDIOTS!

May. 22, 2012, 9:25:50 am

Leslie said...

I couldn't agree more! The officers were obviously trying (in ignorance) to use non lethal force-but it is tragic that the mountain lion was killed! With wildlife as close as the SM mountains,officers should be trained to approach wildlife appropriately to avoid outcomes like today's. Very sad.

May. 22, 2012, 10:28:02 am

Leslie said...

I couldn't agree more! The officers were obviously trying (in ignorance) to use non lethal force-but it is tragic that the mountain lion was killed! With wildlife as close as the SM mountains,officers should be trained to approach wildlife appropriately to avoid outcomes like today's. Very sad.

May. 22, 2012, 10:52:29 am

Angelo Mangi said...

A police officer's first obligation is to protect human life and property. When efforts to contain the predator in a non-public area were unsuccessful, the use of deadly force became necessary. All the hand-wringing by all the bleeding hearts will never change the priority that the lives of Santa Monica's human inhabitants takes over errantwildlife.

May. 22, 2012, 11:09:49 am

Joel Goodsen said...

I suggest the city council look into this incident. Whomever made the call to kill it (I assume the senior officers on site) should be hauled in front of the council and explain their decision to the public. We have the right to know, and shape future policy with the knowledge learned today.

May. 22, 2012, 1:25:33 pm

P said...

A fire hose on a agitated wild animal? Shameful. Good for spcaLA to demand an investigation and update of protocols. If our city can't get it right, what hope is there for everyone else.

May. 22, 2012, 1:46:30 pm

Michele said...

That's disgusting!!!

May. 22, 2012, 5:59:07 am

Ciara said...

The city of Glendale is able to tranquilize an adult bear, capture him out of a tree in the middle of the city and release him into the wild, and all the city of Santa Monica can do is shoot a baby mountain lion who was not even attacking but attempting to flee, after being shot with a tranquilizer, and doused by water canons? No-one in the fish and game dept could figure out how to tranquilize the baby lion? Seriously? Are they spending more time training with real guns than tranquilizers? It took more than one tranquilizer shot to get to the bear in Glendale, why didn't they try one more? Were they that scared of a baby mountain lion? They are supposed to know how to handle this! Extremely disappointing and very sad. Go back and take some classes in wildlife handling

May. 22, 2012, 4:28:55 pm

Ian of SM said...

I must echo Madeline Bernstein's thoughts on better training of officers/officials on how to deal with this kind of event. Anyone that knows cats, knows that they detest water. The hoses may work on Humans, but comon- a cat- really? And pepper balls? All these aggravating type procedures and then the cat tried to escape? Of COURSE he tried to escape. I wasn't there, so I don't know all the details exactly, but if what's been posted is true as far as the events leading up to the shooting/killing of the animal- there never COULD have been a different outcome other than killing it because of the tactics used in the FIRST place. I am very very upset about this. I'm angry and I am sad. The situation was not extreme enough to warrant killing in my opinion. Shame on whichever officer pulled that trigger and the commanding officer that gave the order. Who are they- that's what I would like to know. If they feel that what they did was so right- why are their names not listed anywhere in the news as heroes? I think they have kept the names out of the news because they know that what they did was at least questionable. We are already ruining the Earth through waste and various other things I won;t go into here. We have taken the animals land away from them. It is our DUTY as beings on this planet to ensure their safety as well as ours. This was handled wrong.

May. 22, 2012, 4:34:00 pm

Todd said...

Well, no one has even touched on this...............................When you are part of the Fish and Game dept, I would imagine that you must be qualified to put a dart with a tranquilizing aid in it, and on top of that be able to fire a rifle with virtually no kick and hit your mark!!! Even if the tranquilizer darts are already prepared, your job is very simple.............put the bead on the target and pull the trigger!! Why are these idiots underqualified and cannot handle this task!! They sure as hell can fire their pistols and rifles to put the poor animal six feet under!!! What gets me about the report is they just say, The tranquilizer was inefective???? Why???? Dumb asses???!!! There certainly has been plenty of cases and different sized animals to determine dosage rates to effectively put them to sleep for transport!! After all, it wasn't a 500 pound bear, it was a poor innocent fuckin 80 lb mountain lion! The trigger man isn't qualified to put the bead on the target!! He screwed up when he did not get the shot right. No one even questions that!! Im sure the darts are very effective when they hit the target, not the sidewalk right near the target! Another Fuckin cover up story

May. 22, 2012, 5:13:05 pm

Matt Horns said...

The Santa Monica Mountains' mountain lion habitat is at it's holding capacity. The few adult males that live there are intensely territorial and will not tolerate another male in their territory. That's why this young male left it's area of birth. If it stayed the other males would have killed it. Today on KPCC, a biologist with the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area explained that the main cause of mortality among mountain lions in the mountain range is being killed by other mountain lions. Same holds true in most of mountain lions' range in the U.S. Captivity is not an option. There is a glut of captive mountain lions and no one would take it if it was offered to them. Nature is cruel.

May. 22, 2012, 6:02:57 pm

Jeff said...

What happened to good old fashioned Tranq Darts?!?! Why would someone think hosing it down and shooting it with pepper balls would tranquilize a cat? I can't imagine anything more retarded... like... literally mentally deficient. Would have rather some smug Los Angeles resident died than the cat lol.

May. 23, 2012, 10:18:38 am

Terri said...

Sierra Madre and other towns successfully tranquilize bears, so why should "trendy" Santa Monica kill a wandering mountain lion? Obviously, the City needs to come up with a better plan. In the 1800s, lions preyed on cattle owned by my great great grandparents' in SM Canyon. A few remain and we should do whatever we can to protect them, not kill them.

May. 23, 2012, 3:17:55 am

Maria Fotopoulos said...

To the comment that the main cause of mountain lion mortality is other mountain lions, I'm not sure that is accurate. I watched a most excellent presentation (link below) last night about big cats in which the presenter listed main causes of mountain lion deaths. Top on the list was killed on roads (60), along with poaching, poisoning, disease and public safety kills (3). She didn't mention lions killing lions. It's a very long video, but well worth the viewing if you're interested in the future of big cats in California. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBIwlLU7INM

May. 22, 2012, 3:13:06 pm

Marion Clark said...

Poor form, SMPD, poor form.

May. 22, 2012, 3:28:45 pm

stevie said...

When I saw on the news this morning that a mountain lion was in public in Santa Monica I automatically knew the fate of this poor lion. This happens far too often to mountain lions. this cat was in the wrong place at the wrong time. These animals need to be protected, but instead it was tortured with pepper bombs and a fire hose of course it was trying to escape. The cops should just stick to giving tickets.

May. 22, 2012, 4:05:10 pm

Robert Danford said...

I seriously doubt that anyone intentionally wanted to shoot and kill the Mountain Lion, and you need to back off from the rather overused description that the Mountain Lion was a "Baby" a Mountain Lion Cub which is a baby is around the size and weight of a 5 month old Laborador Retriever. I have personally handled Mountain Lion Cubs and even at that age, they have the ability to severely cut and bite with enough force to put you into the Hospital. A juvenile 75 pound Mountain Lion could easily kill someone. I believe that had the Wardens and the Police had deployed a throw net they may have been able to subdue the Cat but where do you relocate it once its been captured. All together it is a very unhappy situation.

May. 22, 2012, 8:12:06 am

LUIS said...

outraged

May. 22, 2012, 8:14:46 am

L. McCann said...

"Almada said the Fish and Game wardens were the ones to fire the tranquilizer dart that was ineffective." Just one dart! Why not two or more?! "Our officers fired both the pepper ball and then eventually the firearms," he said." Trigger happy pumped up and ignorant officers. I hope someone got their badge numbers. I hope that this situation is investigated more. So sad, so terribly sad.

May. 22, 2012, 8:35:35 am

L. McCann said...

I was on my way to a pilates class on 2nd. There were dozens of police on foot in the air. It looked like there was going to be a gun fight or terrorist attack of some kind. Come to find out, it was just a baby mountain lion that lost its way. Trapped by men with weapons and then killed by them. I was there to see the body in a bag carried out from where it took it's last breath. My heart sank as everyone around began to gasp with disbelief. Anger set in and we said a silent prayer. Just awful, tragic and oh so ignorant for this to have happened. I sorry God, I sorry universe. Santa Monica will never shine like it had before.

May. 22, 2012, 9:03:41 am

Debbie Elliott said...

Untrained, they destroyed a precious and increasingly rare animal.

May. 22, 2012, 9:14:21 am

Robert said...

Oh boo hoo hoo. I'm sure we can find some yummy mountain lion recipes for all you meat eaters out there. I suggest a red wine / garlic / soy sauce marinade. All organic of course.

May. 22, 2012, 6:05:21 am

Lee said...

I find it VERY hard to believe that a tranquilizer dart (did they only have one dart??) Pepper ball and fire hoses were ALL INEFFECTIVE in bringing a BABY lion (who weighs the same as my average sized female Labrador dog) to a tranquil state so that they could capture it! How is it that a tranquilizer dart can bring down a average 600 lbs brown bear but they could not bring down a BABY 75 lbs lion? I don't get it! As far as public safety...... If there were a gunman running around Santa Monica, they would have advised everyone to stay indoors until they were able to capture him. So, why couldn't they do the same thing in this instance? The lion was cornered in a court yard a court yard, not running up and down the street!

May. 22, 2012, 6:39:17 am

Rosalie Juarez Bravo said...

What really happened y'all? Thats HORRIBLE wat u did to that poor animal! Let's not see that again!!!! EVER...This doesn't make Santa Monica look good, SHAME, SHAME ON ALL OF U:(

May. 22, 2012, 6:51:11 am

Suzanne Fortier said...

Did it ever occur to any of those on the scene that this animal was terrified?Trust me, the animals should be more concerned with our behavior than we should be with theirs...one more opportunity to act with dignity and respect blown. I encourage the city officials to invest in some training for their employees. How about picking up that cell phone and calling those trained to deal with exotic ,scared animals.... May the abuse of power stop and respect for all living beings prevail...

May. 22, 2012, 6:51:47 am

Georgina Reskala said...

That is ghastly! Simply outrageous and despicable! After hours of 6 helicopters hovering about, for what? Disgusting!

May. 22, 2012, 7:00:09 am

barry sherman said...

Were the half dozen helicopters overhead helping public safety efforts? We're the pepper balls and fire hoses actually to pacify the animal? Save the ficus trees, but shoot the mountain lion.

May. 23, 2012, 2:41:08 am

David said...

F.U. to the Santa Monica Police Department, Everyone knew they would kill it, they are soooo overstaffed and bored that they over react to every situation. The mountain lion COULD have and SHOULD have been saved!

May. 22, 2012, 11:36:06 pm

Ciara said...

Check out the Mountain Lion Foundation. They stand up for mountain lions and do good work. Search their site and you will see other examples of disastrous handling of mountain lions as well as guidelines to help protect them.

May. 22, 2012, 11:39:10 pm

Ciara said...

Specifically read the editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation concerning the Dept of Fish and Game

May. 23, 2012, 12:31:27 am

theresa said...

who doesnt even give the animal a chance you don't know how the animal is going to react that doesn't mean you go and kill it

May. 23, 2012, 1:31:56 am

christian said...

I command and respect what the police had to do to protect the people during this incident. If the lion would have escaped and people would have been hurt they would have been blamed very quickly for not acting quicker and the city most likely would have been sued. Now for the commentators that are calling the police worthless please do not call them if you have an emergency. That will save us tax payer"s dollars. Also if you feel that the overpopulation is an issue for the mountain lion please do us a favor and move out of the city.

May. 23, 2012, 3:26:57 am

Maria Fotopoulos said...

One other suggestion for all concerned about this shooting: Contact the Santa Monica Police Dept. and the California Department of Fish and Game and tell them you want to see nonlethal options and training for first responders so that there are not more killings of large predators like this.

May. 23, 2012, 4:13:16 am

Lori said...

I am horrified with the decison made by SMPD to put down this beautiful animal. Their coward excuse disgusts me. You don't subdue an animal with a fire hose, of course it's going to run.! It never charged anyone, the picture showed it laying down. Are you telling me the Dept. of Fish and Game does not know how to properly tranquilize a 75lb. animal? (My dog weighs more than that.) I believe the officers made a wrongful decision so they could "just be done with it" Shame on you SMPD!

May. 23, 2012, 4:44:16 am

Tom said...

Really? No one thought of using a second or stronger tranquilizer? How about waiting for someone from Wildworks or someone who knew how to handlethe situation? How about letting it go where it wanted to and keeping an eye on it and keeping folks away. You know - like they do in car chases?

May. 23, 2012, 7:01:08 am

Kizhi said...

Agreed. But give benefit of doubt, city response reveals no training in wildlife, only responds to criminal, gang, animal-like behaviors. Scary, what they do to animals, easily transfers to people, like RFID chips, euthanasia, tracking, etc. On positive side, look here: http://www.wpix.com/news/wpix-bear-falls-out-of-tree,0,4715241.story Colorado police http://www.cbc.ca/news/offbeat/story/2012/04/27/colorado-black-bear-tree.html yea!

Jun. 3, 2012, 3:43:56 pm

Willie said...

I think they did the right thing by killing the mountain lion. They tried tranquilizing the animal to no avail. If the animal had harmed somebody it would of been a whole different story. It's not right that the mountain lion was killed but killing it was the right thing to do.

Dec. 4, 2012, 2:13:12 pm

Kath said...

There should be a intelligence test for Police which obviously they lack. It seems we hire more more idiots. Once they get to a point of frenzy they will move from innocent animals to people. Imagine....

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