ATHOL -- Police concerned about the safety of a crowd that gathered in downtown Athol to see a bear that had wandered into the area shot the animal after several efforts to tranquilize it had failed.
The bear, weighing an estimated 500 to 600 pounds, was eventually euthanized by state Environmental Police.
"The Athol Police Department truly regrets the incident had to end in the manner that it did with the destruction of this truly awe-inspiring and amazing wild creature," Chief Timothy Anderson said in a statement.
The bear first showed up early in the afternoon, police Sergeant Christopher Casella said.
Local police surrounded the bear until Environmental Police responded to the scene and shot it twice with tranquilizer darts so it could be relocated to an unpopulated area.
But the drugs barely slowed the animal, which resisted several more efforts at tranquilization and forced police to tell onlookers to back up on several occasions.
The bear eventually forced its way into an enclosed area surrounding a warehouse and was shot as it charged a gate in an attempt to escape.