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Police shoot bear in backyard outside Newark, N.J.

Associated Press Writer

IRVINGTON, New Jersey- A 300-pound (135-kilogram) black bear that had been wandering urban New Jersey for two days was shot and killed by police Wednesday in a backyard on the edge of Newark after it reared up on his hind legs and appeared ready to charge, authorities said.

Seven shotgun blasts rang out and the bear slumped to the ground in the small yard where it had been cornered.

The animal had apparently come from the countryside, and its rambles had included the cities of Newark and Irvington _ some of the most urban and densely populated areas of the state.

Before the bear was killed, nervous police officers chased three or four youngsters from nearby yards, and were becoming increasingly worried that more than 1,000 neighborhood children would soon be walking home from school.

"Good God almighty!" said Wanda Williams, upon learning that a bear had been spotted on her street. "Why would a bear want to be in Newark? Good gracious! I just hope I don't run into it."

Jim Osorio, an animal control officer who gave the order to shoot, said he was ready to fire a tranquilizer dart when the bear assumed an aggressive position. Two officers opened fire with shotguns, police said.

The bear shooting came only days after a 225-pound (100-kilogram) bear was caught in downtown Trenton. It was shot by state biologists and was the first bear to be killed as part of the state's no-tolerance policy on bears in densely populated areas.

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