Mountain Lion Shot and Killed in Downtown El Paso


POSTED: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 - 8:37am

UPDATED: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 4:37pm

EL PASO -  The mountain lion was first spotted in a downtown parking garage. That's where it was first tranquilized, but the chase was far from over. 

 "We didn't know what was going on until they all pulled up", that's what Maynard Haddad, owner of H & H said moments after a mountain lion was killed on his property.
He and his employees were just going about their daily business when the lion pounced on their property.
"No I wasn't scared of anything, what the hell do I care. I know how to run", Haddad said.
Before being trapped inside H & H's security gates someone spotted the lion inside this downtown parking garage..
That's where a state veterinarian shot it with a tranquilizer dart.
But before the dart could take effect the lion jumped out of the garage onto the street and the wild chase was on again.
This time it headed straight for Saint Clements School.
We spoke with Martin Munoz, the school's security guard, "Everybody was screaming," he said, "That's all I could do I ran and hugged like 3 or 4 of them and by the time I looked I saw the lion jumping over ."
From there the lion came face to face with this man.
Witnesses told us it pounced his legs, jumped over his head and ran right into the car wash.
As employees, scattered authorities lowered the gates.
For nearly an hour the animal wandered around as they waited for the tranquilizer to take effect.
When the lion didn't seem slow, the state veterinarian got another dart ready.
That's when chaos erupted.
Shots rang out and a TABC Officer could be seen standing with his gun drawn.
The state vet's emotional reaction was immediate, he yelled "Ugh you idiot."
He took off running and everyone including bystanders followed.
The vet stood by angry as the mountain lion lay dead at the officers feet.
The second dart had apparently spooked the lion, which charged the gate.
When it nearly made it through an opening, the TABC officer and an El Paso Police officer shot and killed it.
What happened was hard for a lot of people to take.
Several onlookers walked away visibly upset.
Police spokesman told us, "We hope that the public understands that public safety and human life are nothing we take chances with. The initial indication is that officers did what they had to do."

Comments News Comments

Oh boo hoo, the cops are so mean. Wahhhhh. I have a 5 pound chihuahua named chi chi but I know so much about 125 lb mountain lions. What are you? 1/2 retarded?

Oh poor little kitty :(. Let's wait until the WILD animal eats someone's face off before we shoot it! Seriously?

that was so wrong they killed it...i think da police officers were a bunch of pussycats..and they didnt shoot it because of the safety of the people they shot it because they got scared and were worried for their own safely..we hardly have animals here in el paso an there killing them..they were many other solutions..

It is easy to comment on a situation you are not a part of, the right things were done and what had to happen did. Being that you know what should of been done you should start a save the wildlife group so you can handle it correctly next time it happens... the priority here are the children and the public in general... the officer did the right thing...

it is easy to say what should of been done when you were not there... I am sorry but the safety of the children and the public comes first... start a wildlife group and next time these incidents occur they can call you since you seem to think you know how this situations should be handled !!! the right thing was done..

You obviously do not understand how dangerous Mountain Lions are, they kill cows and eat up ranchers profits. They will not hesitate to attack you if you threaten it or it is hungry. There is no way that that mountain lion should have been left alive. What were they going to do with it? Put it in a kennel at the shelter and put the animal care workers in danger? Because they can't let it back out into the wild, how would you feel if they did that an it came back into town and attacked your kids?

Do you even understand how dangerous mountain lions are? They eat ranchers profits and they will not hesitate to eat you if they cannot find another suitable animal. Mountain lions are extremely dangerous, there was no way that that mountain lion should have been kept alive, what were they going to do with it? put it in a kennel and put the animal care workers in danger? How would you feel if that thing escaped and attacked your children?

It seems to have your comment listed here you have to agree with the dominate thinking.I detect bias editing of this comment board since my post last night in favor of shooting the mountain lion was pulled. They darted the animal, it didn't go down, they darted it again, it didn't go down. It jumped to the crawl space on the roof to ESCAPE. They shot it.
This whole thread is full of sychophants that have lost sight of reality. I am glad the lion was shot!

did anybody ever thought that this animal could have been a pet????? It did not seem agressive at all, and the cop and the other person were just a bunch of trigger happy morons.

and if you would open your eyes and read. It clearly said the animal was shot before the vet could use another dart. So know what your talking about before you come on the comment board. Pathetic you think becuase it escaped, it deserved to die. It wasn't aggressive or showing signs of an attack on a human life and yet it didn't even have a chance. So you point is null and void.

I believe kids would call you a troll now a days.

Awe the poor Mountain Lion!!! Give me a break!!!If that Mountain Lion would have hurt or killed one of your children you'd be the first ones with lawyers trying to sue the county for it's police officer not shooting or the vet with the faulty dart. Go hug a tree until your mind is clear then come back to reality!

Firstly it had all the chances to act aggressively when it was in the school. One of the teachers was face to face with it and it just jumped over him causing no harm. If it acted aggressive or attacked anyone i would of been the one to shoot it because of that reason but it did not. So to shoot it was not warranted.

Think before you speak please.

May 11,2011
The animal was shot with a tranquilizer gun by an animal control officer. The police are there to protect the public, not the animals.
Animal Control was there and people should have been kept back. The animal was hot, thirsty, and scared. Let the animal control officer handle the wild animal not the police officer. If people had left the animal alone, it would be alive today. Its sad that animals have to die because of the ignorance/stupidity of people.

Dorothy Schaubhut

My five year old daughter attends St Clement's school. She missed meeting the mountain lion on the school's breezway by a couple of minutes. When I visit the great outdoors I assume the risk of encountering wild animals. When a wild animal visits human habitat, the animal assumes the risk.
Mountain lions are not endangered and killing one does not bother me. Ask the parents of the 3 and 4 year old kids who were out on the playground if they are holding candle-light vigils for the dead cougar.

I agree! The cop jumped the gun!!!!! The lion was not going to hurt anyone caged in at H&H! The vet was preparing another tranquilizer shot for her and the cop was scared and apparently not well trained, and shot the poor thing. I am angry and do worry about these policemen on the street. Not all are this trigger happy, but it just takes one to make a poor decision. This lion was caged. What if it had been a human, would he have shot it if the human attacked the cage?!!!!

Why isn't anyone blaming the Vet. who obviously does not know how to tranquilize correctly. The police officer waited patiently for him to try to put the animal down. The public should be thanking the El Paso Police Dept. for keeping us safe from that wild animal. What if it was your child who was outside playing and could have been injured or even eaten by this wild animal? Kudos to the brave police officers who serve and protect us. That is their job, isn't it?


the veterenarian shouldhave been allowed to do his job and the mountain lion should not have been killed. Just another example of a person with a gun acting without thinking. I have had the experience of coming upon a mountain lion and instead of attacking he ran away from me.

I am very offended that my community is calling law enforcement idiots. These are our fellow men and women who put their lives on the line everyday for us. Had a child or someone's loved one been killed by this mountain lion I'm sure many of you would have been upset that law enforcement did not react sooner. Instead of criticizing we should be thanking these officers for their quick thinking because it could of been a family member of any one of us.

People are so ignorant! The peace officer made the right decision by shooting the animal. What if the officer had allowed the animal to escape only to have a child badly injured or killed. Animal control had two chances to sedate with no results. Thanks go out to the officer for his quick reasoning.

The IDIOT in this case was the County Vet who should have known that the dose of the tranquilizer was not sufficient to bring down the big cat! And a double dose, to tope it off! And then to act so childish after the incident! Learn YOUR Job IDIOT, and leave the poor law enforcement officals (who were protecting your Dumb...)alone to protect the rest of a greatful public!

El Paso has no police, El Paso has DOLTS! They're never there when you need them.

Im glad they shot the cat that thing could of killed someone and if that vet didn't want the cops to kill the lion he should of loaded the tranquilizer gun faster.

If the police (and the unnecessary TABC officer/s) where REALLY doing there job, they would have been getting rid of all the bystanders hanging out by the "dangerous" cat. They have a job to do and the vet/animal control has a job to do. In this situation, the police only made the situation worse - not better.

First of all, the female mountain lion, didn't look agressive, she was only looking for some water, it was not necessity to kill her, I think this is the worse thing the police officer or whoever who killed this innocent creature could have done. I don't understand how people like that (without heart) can exist and been provided with a gun. They have no idea how to solve that kind of situations without harm the animals.

The vet should have tranquilized him soon after the fist one OBVIOUSLY didnt work. "Hey lets wait an hour to see if it kicks in while this wild animal rests up and gets more desperate" great idea state vet. Your the idiot!

thanks to officers and thank God nobody was hurt at St. Clemens or H&H.

H & H is being featured in a cook book, what a coincidence. Their specialty "Tacos de Gato"!

We get a little rain, we flood, we panic &shut down; we freeze, pipes burst, we panic, the city shuts down; mountain lion downtown, we scream, we panic we shoot. El Paso is the most unprepared & over-reacting city in the US. There are so many cities that have wild animals that are spotted in urban settings all the time. We are such a bored set of people that we overlook control and sensibility under pressure to satisfy our excitement for the unusual, & lives like this mountain lion paid for it!

It had plenty of time at the school to take a child down but didn't so it was not aggressive. This is upsetting of how wrong EPPD handled the situation.

I am sending this story and all comm. to PETA and other agencies so they can open a case against the city. Its Called Creating a Perimeter! Isn't that what they do when a "human" is violent and they tell people to stay back behind the yellow taped line?

Use Deadly force if it is aggressive towards a human life if not other options first.

I completely agree with you in opening a case against the city to see if the next time something like this happens they think with intelligence and not with their feet.

OK everyone just calm down MEOW!!!

If "lookie loos" were still hanging out to see the outcome of this event then they were puttig themselves in harms way and should be willing to suffer the consequences of that event...just like the "rubber-neckers" looking at accidents on the roadways... of course the animal was going to react if it felt threatened... this incident could have been dealt with in a more respectful and responsible manner maybe by making all nonessential persons leave the area thus reducing the aniamls anxiety.

First the lion gets killed then Obama comes to town. Sad day for El Paso.

It should be investigated where this poor lion came from. I am a native El Pasoan and there is no way this lion came across from the Mexican mountains without being seen before downtown , if it came down from the Franklin Mountains, it would have been seen closer to Rim Rd., no way it came down from the mountains near Alabama st. without being seen. So, it was either kept illegally as an exotic pet and escaped in the downtown area or it was let loose near that area.

I could of very easily sneak into area over night and been hiding out. They do most of their hunting at night. I live in Houston, and I have seen 2 cougars and 2 black panters with in a 75 mile radius of here.

What? You could of very easily sneak into area over night and been hiding out? You live in Houston and you saw 2 black panters (your spelling) with in a 75 mile radius of here? What have you been smoking?

It's taken years and years to get people to learn to treat animals with the respect they deserve. They belong on earth too.

This poor creature was literally dying of thirst from this horrible drought. Trying to tranquilize it doesn't count if the dart did not have time to work or if it missed its target. We'll never know now as it is dead. End of story.

As the drought continues, please people of El Paso, show mercy and do not panic when you see a wild animal. They deserve to live.

The officers did the right thing; they are charged with protecting the public. Mountain lions are dangerous and predatory and they do not belong in downtown El Paso nor any other human settlement. Rather than being charged, the EPPD and TABC officers should be commended for doing their job.

I completely disagree with you, we, the people are who are invading the wild territory, and this creature deserved to live, the EPPD did a very bad job!!!

The point is, if you watch the video and read the story, that the situation was controlled and the animal did not really need to be shot at the time it was. The officers where just being stupid and trigger-happy. Are there situations when there actions would have been justified, yes. This, however, was not one of them and is a disgrace to our city.

No they were trigger happy or very scared. This animal was not attacking anyone it was simply looking for water. If they were protecting the public they would have made all civilians leave the area they were there for over an hour.

People must come first and foremost in governmental actions. It is a shame that the mountain lions are suffering from the region's severe drought. However, the drought is an "act of God", which the human population of El Paso and the surrounding areas did not cause. The "bleeding heart" attitude of liberals led to a massive crime wave in the 1960s and 70s. Similar misguided attitudes with regard to wild animals place humans at risk. The lawmen did their job well.

Like any wild animal it wanted to escape and the officer saw that it wanted to escape through a hole in the fence or wall. If it had escaped, would you have blamed the cop for letting it go? What if it had attacked someone, since most agree it was hungry and thirsty? Would you have felt better about it if it had harmed someone?

OMG I can not believe the decision to kill the cougar, believe me there are other ways to handle these things. I grew up in an area where mountain lions frequently came into the outskirts of town and bears right down town, wild animals galore throughout the city, but the animal control had their stuff together, and very seldom did an animal have to be put down, they had action plans and everyone was ready for the unexpected, Police Sheriff, even Highway Patrol.

ive been living in elpaso for 3 years now im from conn. husbands job is here now thats why we moved here ,in conn the police are always taking care of the wild life and moving them to safer places, here in elpaso people dont know how to handle anything ,the vet was handleing it ,the police should be more concerned on other matters ,poor cat ,the police handled it all wrong they need more training .what a shame to end the cats life ,but thats elpaso .teresa

Rysmatt you are an idiot. I guess you have never heard of adrenaline. Tranquilizers take more time to work than what these sorry ass humans gave. And you are talking about posting here instead of what is going on in Juarez then maybe you should put your lame thoughts on that post and the leave the conversation to the adults. Your arguments like you are pathetic. Your defense of "it could have easily attacked" does not hold any water since the animal did not.

Charges should be put on those trigger happy idiot cops, who are they to take alife of one of Gods animals, they could of just sedated and relocated but only in El Paso these kind of stupids actions happen. What an embarrassment.

If those of you who who are happy with the way this incident ended would take the time to educate yourselves, you would know that this Mountain Lion was simply trying to AVOID human contact, not initiate it. Had a larger perimeter been set up around the car wash where the animal met his unfortunate demise, the State veterinarian would have had the time to complete the plan of action that was already set in motion.

I wonder if those that are celebrating this poor animal's demise actually took the time to LISTEN to the reports made. First of all, the Mountain Lion was only shot with a tranquilizer dart ONCE... the State veterinarian was in the process of preparing the SECOND tranquilizer shot when the "hero" shot the animal dead. This animal was not acting aggressively, it was only attempting to seek sanctuary, water, etc. ...continued

EP police officers are stupid arrogant fools who don't know what they're job as cops really are. Wow u killed an innocent animal who was only looking for food, what a hero u are. Idiot. Unfortunately he didn't attack you.

The poor animal was thirsty its been dry here in El Paso so for long and the animals are looking for some water i think this is so childish for a cop to kill it we should just do the right thing and give the animals some water and whoever goes for killing the poor animals is just plain stupid in the head!!!!

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