Authorities continued their hunt Thursday morning for what they said was an "aggressive" mountain lion that killed a 100-pound German shepherd in Fontana and came at police officers "a total of four times" amid a hail of bullets before retreating.
Authorities said they do not believe that the large cat -- deemed an "imminent threat" to public safety -- was hit by the gunfire, prompting an overnight search that continued into the predawn hours Thursday.
Fontana police said in a statement that the incident began about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday when a resident in the 4100 block of Fox Borough Drive heard his dog crying out and went outside to find a large mountain lion standing over his dead 100-pound German shepherd.
When officers arrived, the statement said, the mountain lion was in the frontyard of the Hunter’s Ridge area home. Officers shot at the cat and initially scared it into a nearby canyon, but it returned four times, coming toward officers before returning to the gorge, according to police.
Neighbor Daien Welter told KTLA-TV that she was awakened by the sound of shots being fired, and immediately turned out the lights in her home.
“We thought they were after people, so I was trying to stay away from the windows,” she said.
Fontana police said they are working with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as they search for the big cat. Officials are also using a helicopter to scour the area, using infrared equipment to pick up the animal’s heat signature.
Despite mountain lions being nocturnal, Fontana police said in their statement that their pursuit of the animal "will be on a 24-hour basis until the threat is eliminated."
Meanwhile, residents were urged to avoid hiking or jogging at dawn, dusk and night, when mountain lions are the most active. Police also asked people to keep pets inside and call 911 if they spot the mountain lion.
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