Phoenix/ Crime & Emergencies
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Published on May 27, 2024
Bear Busts into Arizona Cabin and Mauls Teen Watching TVSource: Unsplash/ mana5280

In a chilling encounter with wildlife in Alpine, Arizona, a 15-year-old boy became the unwitting victim of a bear attack while relaxing indoors. Brigham Hawkins was blindsided by a bear that sauntered through an open front door and assaulted him from behind as he was engrossed in watching TV, according to Fox 10 Phoenix.

In an instinctual act of courage, his 18-year-old brother Parker sprang into action. The bear, upon entering the cabin, attacked Brigham, "swatted at him and scratched his face," their mother, Carol Hawkins, recounted to Fox 10 Phoenix. Brigham had spent the preceding part of the day fishing and was at the family's bunkhouse; the rest of his family was nearby, about 20-feet away, within the main cabin.

With the bear momentarily distracted by Parker, who initially mistook the bear for "a really large dog," according to a Fox 10 Phoenix interview with Carol Hawkins, their father was able to intervene. The bear chased both the brother and Shane Hawkins, Brigham's father, but they managed to secure themselves and call for assistance. Brigham emerged from the incident with facial and arm lacerations, a stark reminder of the day's terrifying events.

The involved bear, a three-year-old black bear, was subsequently located and euthanized by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which is now testing the animal for rabies, as detailed by 12News. Brigham, who Carol Hawkins says has faced considerable adversity in his life due to a rare genetic disorder, was treated at the hospital and started on rabies vaccines as a precaution.

Carol Hawkins expressed profound relief and gratitude for her son's survival. "We're extremely blessed and feel that somebody was most definitely watching over him because… he's very small and has lots of medical issues and there was nothing he could have done to chase off this bear or fight off this bear," she told 12News. Bear attacks, while relatively uncommon in Arizona, do pose a serious risk, as evidenced by a fatal attack that occurred near Prescott last year. This incident marks the 16th recorded bear attack on humans in the state since 1990.

AZGFD has responded to the attack by reminding residents and visitors to remain "bear aware," offering safety tips for those enjoying outdoor activities, including how to properly store food away from campsites and what to do during a bear encounter. For additional information or to report bear sightings, they advise contacting their department or, in emergencies, to call 911.