Richard A. Ward: Panhandle man, 82, charged in black bear deaths

FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. - FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Wildlife officials have charged an 82-year-old Panhandle man for shooting and killing a mother black bear and her cub.

Richard A. Ward told investigators he was trying to protect his dog and his family when he used his 12-guage shotgun to kill the bears.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reported Monday that wildlife officials investigated and determined that the man and his dog were never in any danger from the bears.

Ward faces charges for shooting and killing the two bears, attempting to shoot a third and discharging a firearm near a dwelling. He could face up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine on each of the charges.

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