Off-duty Seminole County deputy shot mother bear that was later euthanized

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. — Florida wildlife officials are investigating after a mother bear was shot in a Seminole County neighborhood and had to be euthanized.

People living in the Sanford neighborhood where it happened Friday morning said they are outraged.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials have not released the circumstances surrounding the incident but said they had to euthanize the bear once they located it.

Seminole County Sheriff’s Office officials said an off-duty Seminole County deputy shot the bear. The office also said the deputy’s actions are under administrative review, which is standard procedure.

Read: Take a look: Bear spotted at Lake Eola Park

Neighbors in the Tall Trees neighborhood said they are saddened by the killing of that bear, which they say they frequently saw along with her two cubs.

FWC officials said they had to euthanize the bear because of her injuries, and her two cubs were relocated.

Read: Bear seen roaming Orlando neighborhoods hit, killed by car

“It didn’t make us feel good at all. It made us fairly mad, really, because I’ve lived here for 23 years, we’ve had bears every year and never had problems with the bears,” one neighbor said. “I mean, if you get between the bear and the cubs, you need to just get out of the way.”

FWC has not released the name of the deputy and said they continue to investigate but so far no charges have been filed.

It is illegal to kill a black bear in Florida because they are protected.

Click here to download our free news, weather and smart TV apps. And click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.

Jeff Levkulich

Jeff Levkulich, WFTV.com

Jeff Levkulich joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in June 2015.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.