Man accidentally shoots his brother in a bear encounter, then commits suicide

In a tragic event in the early hours of February 8, an Oregon man saw a black bear near his home and then accidentally shot his brother while carrying a gun to defend them. According to the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, the man apparently turned the gun on himself before deputies arrived.

“Upon arrival, officers located a male deceased from an apparent gunshot wound,” Deputy Sheriff Travis Snyder stated in the incident report. “While he was searching the rest of the residence, a second deceased male was located with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

Authorities seem understandably baffled by the event and are releasing few details at this time.

“Based on the investigation, the caller is believed to have taken his own life after calling 911 to report the accidental shooting,” Snyder stated. “This case is still under investigation and will be referred to the Oregon State Medical Examiner’s Office. The detectives from the sheriff’s office were assisted by detectives from the Oregon State Police.”

Placer, Oregon, is an unincorporated community 20 miles north of Grants Pass and a few miles from Interstate 5. Founded around gold mining but now considered a ghost town, the chain of homes and properties in its Large majority follows along Grave Creek into mountains and vast BLM timberlands.

With such scant information and no witnesses, it’s hard to speculate on the full picture of what transpired here. Oregon is home to an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, according to ODFW, and allows limited-entry hunting. Based on the location, it is very likely that there was a bear on that particular property, although the Sheriff’s Office does not show any recent reports of bears causing trouble in the area. Panic can lead to terrible mistakes, and gun safety should never be ignored. MeatEater sends its condolences to the family of these men.