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    Teen attacked by bear in Alpine cabin as family fend off animal after hearing his screams

    By Chiara Fiorillo,


    A teen faced a terrifying ordeal while lounging in his cabin watching television, as a black bear slipped inside and attacked him, causing injuries to his arm and face.

    Brigham Hawkins, 15, was spending a quiet evening in his family's cabin near Blue River Road in Alpine, Arizona . Unexpectedly, he found himself under attack from a bear that had entered through an open door.

    According to his mother, Carol Edington Hawkins, the family has frequented the cabin for years without any such incident. Carol expressed her horror as she detailed how the bear ambushed her son, who has a rare neurological disorder.

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    He wasn't aware of the bear's presence until it lacerated his face with two swift swipes. During the harrowing encounter, Brigham sustained several injuries but bravely held on.

    In an interview with AZ Family, the distressed mother shared how after an initial attack, the bear momentarily departed the cabin only to return and resume the assault on Brigham. She said: "He hadn't realized it because it came in from behind, and it reached over and like swiped at his face twice."

    She revealed the bear "Got him on the nose and the cheek and then went ahead and got his forehead and the top of his head." Fortunately, the brave actions of Brigham's brother Parker, accompanied by other family members, successfully drove away the predatory animal after hearing Brigham's screams.

    AZ Game and Fish Department Law Enforcement Supervisor Shawn Wagner commended the family's swift action during the bear attack, stating: "It was thanks to the quick reaction by his brother and his family that they were able to distract the bear from what very easily in a matter of seconds could have turned into a real tragedy there."

    He also mentioned that the three-year-old black bear was put down close to the cabin and its remains were sent for examination and rabies testing. Carol took to Facebook on May 24 to express her gratitude, writing: "We are feeling so blessed today and thankful to our Heavenly Father.

    "Yesterday a bear came into my parent's cabin in Alpine and attacked Brigham while he was watching TV alone. Parker heard Brigham's screams and got the bear away from him and Shane was able to get to Brigham."

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    She continued to acknowledge the community's support: "So many miracles worked together to keep Brigham safe. We would like to say thank you to Alpine first responders, the sheriff's department, Sterling Simpson, Robert Haws, Arizona Game and Fish, and the local hospital for all their help. We also appreciate all the prayers said on Brigham's behalf. Not many kids can say they got in a fight with a bear and came out on top."

    The teen's mom said the family was upset to hear the bear was killed, but knew it had to be done. She said: "People that ... don't understand wildlife or Arizona think that you know, this is just normal bear behavior, and we should be understanding."

    She further remarked: "I just wish people could understand ... this is not what you would expect, this is not normal. For whatever reason, there was something wrong with this bear, something was off."

    Although her son suffered cuts to his face and arm, he is projected to fully recover. This appalling event marked the 16th bear attack on a person in Arizona since 1990. Out of those incidents, two were fatal.

    The Arizona Game and Fish Department cautioned people about visiting areas of the state inhabited by bears - and suggested safety measures such as securing food, setting up campsites away from areas like bodies of water, making noises while hiking in groups, avoiding the use of scented lotions or perfume, and keeping pets on a leash.

    The AZGFD advises that if you come across a black bear, do not run. Instead, retreat slowly while maintaining eye contact with the beast. You should also try to make yourself appear larger by waving your arms or raising your shirt over your head. And, if attacked, you should try to hold your own, say officials.

    However, when it comes to grizzly/brown bears, you should play dead and avoid retaliating if the animal charges and attacks you. The US National Park Service elucidates that you should wait until you are sure the bear has left before moving, and only if the attack continues should you fight back.

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