"It was either me or the bear:" Man speaks out after shooting at bear

Black bear, Photo Date: 9/22/2016 (PIXNIO)
Black bear, Photo Date: 9/22/2016 (PIXNIO)(KMVT)
Published: Nov. 8, 2019 at 4:58 AM EST
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A man faces charges after allegedly firing six shots at a bear in Gatlinburg on November 7 around 11:30 p.m.

Gatlinburg Police said Gregory Sapp, 53, of Hixson told police the bear charged at him before he fired the gun. Dispatchers told WVLT News the incident happened outside of a Motel 6.

Sapp spoke to WVLT News on November 8 and said, "He attacked me as soon as I walked out of my room, and I reached in my pocket and grabbed my gun and shot."

Sapp also said, "It was either me or the bear and I chose me." The bear ran off into the woods and has not been relocated. Sapp was not injured, and investigators said they do not know if the bear was hit. TWRA is still searching for the animal

A resident in the area, Kara Lanham, said the bear Sapp shot "was like the neighborhood bear. He would come around and lay behind our porch. He didn't mess with anybody. Everybody knows what time he comes, usually late at night or early in the morning. Everybody knows that, but other than that he didn't mess with nobody, not even the animals on the property."

Sapp was charged with illegal discharge of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

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