NEWTON, Mass.  — Some Newton residents are questioning the use of lethal force on a young bear stranded in a tree over the Massachusetts Turnpike.  The bear was shot out of the tree and killed by state environmental police early Sunday morning.

A police officer used a fire truck ladder to reach the bear, which was 40 feet up in the tree.  Police fired two tranquilizer darts at the bear, but said they failed to subdue the animal.

Police said they shot the bear, concerned it would fall on to the highway and cause an accident. The animal fell on train tracks below where it was shot a third time and killed.

Westbound traffic on the Mass Pike in the area was stopped for about two minutes during the incident.

State Police and Environmental Police declined interviews Sunday but say the bear was a threat to public safety both because of the roadway– and a nearby neighborhood.

Jean MacGowan lives across the street from where the bear was shot, and says the bear should have been relocated.  “They could have figured out another way to trap that thing and get it out of the tree and back to wherever it came from or bring it somewhere.  They didn’t have to kill it.”

Nearby parents like Ed Lallier say the decision was clear.  “I don’t want a bear loose around the area.”

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