Internal Affairs to investigate Avalon deputy’s shooting of bison

The Internal Affairs Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the recent shooting of a bison by an Avalon Station deputy. The bison reportedly charged at the deputy. The animal was euthanized. The Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau  is headquartered on the mainland.

According to Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Station, no one from the Avalon Station will be conducting the investigation.

Capt. Hocking issued the following statement about the shooting:

The Internal Affairs Bureau of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department is investigating the recent shooting of a bison by an Avalon Station deputy. The bison reportedly charged at the deputy. The animal was euthanized. The Sheriff’s Internal Affairs Bureau  is headquartered on the mainland.

According to Capt. John Hocking, commander of the Avalon Station, no one from the Avalon Station will be conducting the investigation.

Capt. Hocking issued the following statement about the shooting:

“On August 18, 2017, a deputy was involved in a shooting of a Catalina Bison at Little Harbor Campground on Catalina Island.  The deputy was concerned for the safety of the campers in the area and fired at the bison when it reportedly charged at him.  The bison had to be euthanized.

“All life is precious, and the Sheriff’s Department takes these types of incidents seriously; a thorough investigation will be conducted.

“As part of our Department’s effort to maintain objectivity and accountability, the Sheriff’s Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau, and not personnel from the Avalon Sheriff’s Station, will be conducting this investigation.

“During the pendency of this investigation, the involved deputy is on approved leave, and will be reassigned pending the results of the investigation.

“As members of this community, we share the community’s concerns.  We ask that the community have faith in this investigative process.”

The Catalina Island Conservancy also issued a statement about the bison shooting:

“On the evening of Friday, Aug. 18, there was a (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department) officer-involved shooting of a male bison in the Little Harbor campground area which resulted in the bison having to be put down. The incident is under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. No further details are available at this time.  There are about 120 bison on Catalina Island and these incidents are extremely rare.”

About Catalina bison

Bison rarely attack people. The president of the American Conservation Experience was injured by a bison while he was working on the Island Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015.

According to a Conservancy factsheet on Bison Safety for the Public, “Adult American bison on Catalina Island weigh between 600 (and) 1,800 lbs., are capable of running nearly 30 mph, and can jump a six foot fence from a standing position.”

Animal shooting statistics

According to the Los Angeles County Open Data website, deputies shot seven animals in 2016. There have been eight deputy-involved shootings of animals in Los Angeles County so far this year. It was not clear if the Aug. 18 shooting was included in the data.

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