Wildlife officials in Alaska's capital suspect a black bear might have literally crashed a child's birthday party before he was shot and killed inside a different home.
The bear had shimmied onto the roof of Alicia Bishop and Glenn Merrill's home and was walking across a skylight when the bottom fell out Saturday, the Juneau Empire reported ( http://is.gd/eUiuGY ).
"I heard this cracking," said Merrill, who was preparing for his son's first birthday party. "And the next thing you know, there's this bear that, I mean, literally, fell right from (the skylight)."
He said he and the bear were about 3 feet apart and just stared at each other in disbelief.
Merrill, 45, had his parents take his son, Jackson, upstairs, and he went into another room and shut the door. Bishop, 33, was standing in the kitchen behind a glass door and watched the bear help itself to some cupcakes intended for the child's birthday bash.
"The bear walks over and puts its paws up on the table and starts licking his birthday cupcakes, and I'm just like, 'You've got to be kidding me,'" Bishop told the newspaper.
She opened a side door, and the couple were able to shoo the bear outside. He made one more appearance.
"It was up by the window like, 'I want more cupcakes,'" Bishop said.
The animal retreated to the woods when Merrill used bear spray. He said the bear wasn't aggressive, and seemed used to being around people.
About 30 minutes later, Juneau police responded to a report of a bear inside a nearby home. Officers arrived and shot it when it appeared in the doorway. The bear ran behind the house, where it was later found dead.
Wildlife officials suspect it's the same bear, described in both incidents as a young male, weighing about 180 pounds.
"I'll remember this forever the rest of my life," Rodger said. "The way [the sheriff] just looked me in the eye, and he said, 'We've found a deceased person and we found a license in his pocket that fits your son's description.'"
Elliot's mother, Li Chin Rodger, and Peter's current wife, Soumaya Akaaboune, both protested to the police. "No, no, no, no, he's not dead," they pleaded.
"Can somebody clarify this to me?" Peter Rodger asked in the confusion.
The sheriff gave the same cold answer. "We've found a deceased person, and we found a license in his pocket that fits your son's description." It was that moment Peter Rodger realized that his son was actually gone.
What he didn't know yet was that his son was a mass murderer, that Elliot had used knives, handguns and his car to murder six people and injure 13 near the UC-Santa Barbara campus before taking his own life. The carnage caused by his son transfixed that nation on May 23 as his fury left a trail of blood through the campus town.