Charge dropped in park bear shooting

Federal prosecutors have dismissed a misdemeanor charge filed against a 57-year-old Texas man who shot at a grizzly bear that was charging him on a trail in Glacier National Park.

Attorney Jason T. Holden of Great Falls tells the Missoulian the U.S. Attorney’s Office was right to dismiss the charge of illegally discharging a firearm in a national park because his client was defending himself. He says Brian D. Murphy didn’t fire his gun until after he tried pepper spray.

The shooting happened on July 26 on Mount Brown Lookout Trail. The wounded bear was never located.

Holden says Murphy saw the bear running down a hill toward other hikers. When he yelled to warn them, the bear turned around and came at him.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith Strong dismissed the charge on Oct. 9.