Tourist opens fire on bear in Tennessee


(WBIR/NBC News)  A Tennessee man is facing charges of illegal discharge of a firearm and reckless endangerment after firing several shots at a bear outside of a Gatlinburg motel.

Gatlinburg police said tourist Gregory Sapp claimed the bear was outside his room on the second floor breezeway of the Motel 6 and charged at him late Thursday night. 

He fired six shots from his .45 caliber handgun.

Officers with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were unable to find the bear Friday.  They do not know how many shots hit the animal. It is unknown if the bear is dead or alive.

Neighbors said they are very familiar with the animal and expressed skepticism that it was aggressive.

“I heard several shots ring out. It turns out this fellow was shooting at a black bear that he claimed tried to attack him and his wife.  He exclaimed it was a 300 or 400 pound bear, which is the exact size of that bear that has been in our neighborhood for a while.  It is a big bear. But like I said, I’ve never had a problem with that bear.  It goes about its business,” said neighbor Anthony Gunter.

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