Mountain Lion Killed By Officer Draws Speculation in Santa Monica

Los Angeles Post

A 3 year-old mountain lion wandered into Santa Monica’s busy downtown area on Tuesday and the result has sparked a vigorous debate.  The young lion was eventually euthanized.  Police Lt. Robert Almada said that a number of attempts were made to keep the aggressive mountain lion contained before it was shot and killed.

Rogelio Rodriguez is a janitor whose job includes cleaning the courtyard of an office complex, but his job suddenly got more exciting on Tuesday when he heard a scratching sound near one of the glass doors.  Upon investigation, he saw a mountain lion scratching on the door.  He ran out of the courtyard as the mountain lion moved to get behind him and closed the door and called the Santa Monica Police.  He indicated that it took about three hours for the police to arrive, and that the mountain lion took a nap in the courtyard during that time.

The Santa Monica Police had the help of three game wardens and the Santa Monica Fire department as they attempted to contain the lion using nonlethal bullets, tranquilizing darts, and even a fire hose.  However, none of these attempts worked as the lion continued to charge the police and attempted to get away.  In order to protect themselves and others, the lion was eventually fatally shot by a police officer.

Many people have different opinions on whether the killing was warranted.  Those who support the shooting feel that the mountain lion was a threat to public safety, particularly with a preschool full of children across the street from the office complex.  Those who are against the shooting feel that the lion has rights and the authorities should have taken more time in order to take it alive.  Some people in the area are concerned that something like this could happen again and fear that a precedent has been set with the killing of this lion.

The California Department of Fish & Game said this is a rare occurrence and that they don’t remember ever seeing a mountain lion in Santa Monica.


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