Man Warding Off Bear Accidentally Shot Brother Dead Then Killed Himself, Authorities Say

An Oregon man accidentally shot his brother to death before turning the gun on himself in an incident sparked by the appearance of a bear on his property, authorities said.

According to a statement issued by Undersheriff Travis Snyder at the Josephine County Sheriff's Office, 911 operators received a call at around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, February 8, informing them there had been a shooting at a residence in the 2000 block of Placer Road in Sunny Valley.

The caller told operators he had "accidentally shot his brother while loading a gun because there was a bear on their property."

Deputies arrived at the scene soon after where they located a deceased male who had died from an apparent gunshot wound.

A subsequent check of the residence then uncovered a second deceased male who died as a result of what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"Based upon the investigation, it is believed the caller took his own life after calling 911 to report the accidental shooting," Undersheriff Snyder said.

Neither man has been formally identified and no further details were made available at time of writing.

Sheriff's Office detectives are being assisted by detectives from the Oregon State Police with an investigation still ongoing.

The case has also been forwarded to the Oregon State Medical Examiner's Office.

Newsweek has contacted the Josephine County Sheriff's Office for comment.

The Josephine County Parks department estimates that Oregon is home to anywhere between 25,000 and 30,000 black bears.

In the event of an encounter with a bear, they recommend you "stay calm, do not run or make any sudden movements" but instead "back away slowly as you face the bear."

In the unlikely event a black bear attacks, it is recommended you "fight back" by shouting and using "rocks, sticks and hands" to fend off the animal.

The guidance makes no mention of firearms.

Figures compiled by The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence show that in 2019 alone, 486 Americans died as a result of unintentional firearm injuries.

That figure equated to around 1.2 percent of all gun deaths in the U.S. that year.

Back in November 2021, a man in Pennsylvania died after being shot in the abdomen while hunting bears. In Italy, a 19-year-old world shooting champion died after accidentally shooting himself during a hunting trip in January.

If you have thoughts of suicide, confidential help is available for free at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is available 24 hours every day.

A police car and a black bear.
Stock images of a police car and a black bear. Two men have died following a tragic accident in Oregon. Savageslc/ dominikherz/Getty