NYPD detective gets clawed at as he fought off black bear which attacked him after it wandered into his garage

The Cornwall, New York resident says he didn't have time to turn on the light in his garage before a black bear attacked him Sunday night.

                            NYPD detective gets clawed at as he fought off black bear which attacked him after it wandered into his garage

On Sunday evening, an off-duty NYPD detective was attacked by a black bear in Cornwall, New York, ABC News reports. According to a police statement, the Cornwall police department received a call at approximately 9.30 pm about a bear encounter off Mineral Springs Road. William Orange, the victim of the terrifying attack, was working in his garage at night when the bear confronted him.

“When he went back to his residence and entered the attached garage, he encountered a small black bear that had entered the garage through a door that had been left open,” the police said in a statement. “He then heard a growl and was struck in the chest by the bear.” 

“The homeowner’s shirt was ripped open by the bear and he sustained a very deep scratch from the animal’s claws. The homeowner was able to push the bear away and go inside his residence without further contact with the animal,” police said. Authorities said Orange was immediately treated at the scene by the Cornwall Volunteer Ambulance Corps. before being transported to St. Luke's Hospital for further treatment.

In a conversation with ABC Station WABC, Orange revealed that the light had gone off and the beast attacked him before he could turn it back on. “I saw shadows and a dark object. I saw, like, big teeth and I was freaked out,” Orange told the outlet. “I heard a growl and saw big teeth and something grabbed my shirt. I hit it with my forearm and I just ran.”

The wild bear ripped the detective's shirt open and sliced the man's stomach, leaving four deep gashes. He somehow managed to run inside his home to escape further harm. Orange said his wounds would have been more severe but he was lucky. "I guess it could have been a lot worse. It got me, but it's more of a graze," he told WABC. "I'll be alright." 


That said, a spokesperson for the NYPD clarified that the unexpected bear attack had nothing to do with police work. “This was an off-duty incident unrelated to the NYPD,” the spokesman told ABC News. Cornwall police said that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's law enforcement and wildlife divisions are currently following up the freak incident.

Speaking to ABC News, Police Chief Todd Hazard said, “[The bear] hasn't been captured. There's a trap out for it." Cornwall police have reminded residents to remove any traces of food for wild animals from their properties. However, bear attacks are relatively rare phenomena in New York state.

“Although bear attacks are extremely rare in New York, residents are reminded to remove food sources for wild animals whenever possible and if trash is stored in a garage or outbuilding doors should be kept closed whenever possible,” authorities said in a statement.