Published on June 16, 2023

At approximately 7:50 this morning, the YCSO dispatch center received multiple 911 calls about a man who was being mauled by a bear in the Groom Creek Area. When YCSO deputies and Prescott PD arrived at the scene, which was in a heavily wooded remote area, they found Steven Jackson, 66 years old of Tucson dead of an apparent bear attack, and the bear dead nearby. Deputies called officials from Arizona Game and Fish to respond to the scene as well.
From multiple witness accounts and preliminary investigation of the scene, Mr. Jackson had been sitting having coffee at a table on his property where he was building a home. It appears that a male black bear attacked Mr. Jackson, taking him unaware, and dragged him approximately 75 feet down an embankment.
Neighbors who heard the victim screaming tried to intervene through shouts and car horns, but the bear did not let go of Mr. Jackson until one neighbor was able to retrieve his rifle and shoot the bear to get him to disengage. Unfortunately, by that time Mr. Jackson has succumbed to his horrible injuries.
According to Arizona Game and Fish and confirmed by YCSO this attack, which appeared to be predatory in nature, is highly uncommon and unusual, with only one other fatal attack known since the mid 1980s. At first glance there did not appear to be anything on the site that would have precipitated a attack by the bear, such as food, a cooking site or access to water.
There is no threat to the public as this bear has been put down. The location where the attack occurred was not near recreational sites for camping, but officials still caution revelers to take precautions when camping, such as locking up food in a vehicle and not leaving out items such as toothpaste that may bring a bear to your campsite.
YCSO will be conducting the death investigation, while Game and Fish will investigate what may have caused the attack, but officials at the moment do not have a theory other than a predatory response by the bear. Both investigations are just beginning, and more information will be release when available.
“Our sincere sympathies go out to Mr. Jackson’s family” said Sheriff David Rhodes. “I cannot express how deeply sad this situation is and can only say our prayers are with you.”
YCSO and Game and Fish caution people to not shoot bears that they see unless there is an imminent threat to you or someone else.


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