Knoxville (WVLT) - Families in fear of a bear in Knoxville can now rest at ease. TWRA officers captured the black bear in the old city after about a six hour chase Downtown.
TWRA says these bears can wander anywhere when they're lost and hungry.
The good news is, officers say they're positive this bear is the same one that's been wandering around West Knoxville over the past few weeks.
"He went from this Bearden area and just started heading east,” TWRA Officer Joe Durnin says they got word of the bear's movement around 10:00 p.m. Monday night. "He had gotten into a fenced in area over at Roman Hoss, traveled through there, apparently hit the railroad tracks just on the other side of the fence."
But the 150 to 200 pound black bear didn't stop there. Witnesses couldn't believe their eyes.
"It was kind of surreal, just sort of interested, we were just kind of following it around and really he called 911 and really kind of thinking hoping the bear would get captured and that it would be safe,” says Kyle Kennedy who saw the bear running in Old City.
"Ended up in the Old City part of town, then got trapped in the fence area there. KPD pretty much surrounded him there,” says Officer Durnin.
Around 4:30 a.m. officers finally captured the three year old male after two tranquilizer shots. Officers identified it right away as the same one spotted in West Knoxville as recently as this past Friday.
"When we saw it, it had a scar on its right side that was pretty evident, so it was on the same on this bear, so we know we got the same guy,” Durnin says.
That's a big sigh of relief for neighbors like Dwayne Gideon on Forest View Road off Sutherland Avenue. Gideon hasn't been able to let his children outside by themselves for fear of the bear.
"We can all feel a lot safer," Gideon says. "Sounded like the same description of the one that they've seen here."
"I'm sure the neighborhood, in a lot of ways, is relieved. It causes some anxious moments,” says Durnin.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when ever dealing with bears:
Don't feed them.
Keep garbage up away from bears.
Avoid bird feeders.
Keep pet food indoors.
Do not put any food in compost piles.
And keep your cooking grills clean.
You just never know when one is going to pop us again.
This bear is safe and will be released into the Cherokee National Forest.