A San Mateo man attempted to scare a mountain lion spotted in his neighborhood by firing his gun into the ground, police said.
The shooting was reported Monday when police and Department of Fish and Wildlife officials were investigating reports of mountain lion sightings in downtown San Mateo. The mountain lion was eventually located, tranquilized and later released to its original habitat later that night.
Ruth Price saw the 90-pound mountain lion on her apartment patio.
"He was long, brown and had a long tail," she said. "He jumped over the fence, through the trees and over the gates."
Price's husband, Barto, is the man suspected of shooting the gun.
"I guess he thought if he came back again, he probably would have shot at it because it is running around and you have the park over here with the kids and dogs," Price said.
Officers confiscated the weapon after the shooting. Police said the case will be reviewed by the District Attorney's Office.
"His explanation was he thought he was trying to scare off the mountain lion," said Rick Decker of the San Mateo Police Department. "Unfortunately, in light of the circumstance, it was poor judgment."
The search for the mountain lion prompted street closures and police to ask residents to shelter in place.
Fish and Wildlife officials said the mountain lion is healthy, but a little woozy from the tranquilizer. Experts said it is unlikely the animal will return to the area.