DAWSON CREEK -- The RCMP Staff Sergeant who shot and killed a bear near Dawson Creek two weeks ago says it was one of the scariest things he has seen in his 21 year policing career.

Staff Sergeant Damon Werrell was returning home from his son’s hockey practice when he received a call from one of his officers.

A call had in come to the Dawson Creek RCMP Detachment about two women who had been attacked by a bear on Bear Mountain.

The attack happened just before 7pm on October 3rd on the Wolverine Trail. A mother, her teenage son, and two friends were looking to take some pictures of the fall colours in the area.  

The son was the first to see the large black bear and alerted the group. The bear charged them and the son punched the bear, trying to scare it off. However, the bear knocked him aside, badly bruising his ribs.

The mother, Analyn Bartolome, and her friend Leosette Cheng were then attacked and seriously injured. The two others ran to a trail cabin and called 911. RCMP arrived roughly an hour later.

“They called me because they knew I lived close by,” said Werrell. I grabbed my shot gun and got on to my ATV and headed to the Bear Mountain Ski Club.

Werrell met two other officers and they split up and started looking for a cabin. Werrell said it was almost pitch black by the time they found a cabin. Werrell said it turned out to be empty. He received a call on his radio that another officer had located two people in a trail cabin nearby.

There were two people still unaccounted for. Werrell said they headed out of Wolverine Trail when they saw a large pool of blood.

“We shine the flashlight around a little bit to see if there was any evidence of a bear or people and we couldn't find anything. So I drove forward about 40 or 50 yards just to see if there was a cabin up the road. So I turned around and came back to that pool of blood and we were studying it,” said Werrell.

As they were studying the blood Werrell said, "I heard a faint voice whisper 'help bear' off to my left. We shone our flashlights and I saw two victims, seriously injured and covered in blood. A black bear was sitting on top of both of them."

Werrell said the officers tried to coax the large black bear away from the 2 women but the bear refused to leave. He said the women were completely exhausted.

“I turned the Gator around so I was facing the bear in order to use the lights to illuminate the area a little bit. And I used the gator to try and push the bear away to scare it off. I tried two or three times and by this time, the victims now were screaming for help.”

The bear had been sitting on the 2 women for over an hour. Werrell said it was playing with the two badly injured women like an animal that plays with its food. The bear was swatting and gnawing at them.

One of the buttocks on one of the women was almost gone. The bear had eaten it and her forearm was badly bitten.

“The reassurance that we gave them was, we're not going anywhere and we're going to deal with the bear and then we'll help you,” said Werrell

That’s when the three officers decided the bear had to be shot. Werrell raised his shot gun and pressed the trigger.

“We had no choice but to shoot the bear. So I created a little bit of distance with the Gator. I brought my gun up and pulled the trigger. But my safety was on, so I just engaged the trigger just as the bear ducked down in the grass," said Werrell

Werrell said because of the thick brush he couldn’t tell where the bear was or if it had been hit so he took another shot into the waist-high grass.

“I was relatively certain I hit it for sure with the second shot though. We didn't know where the bear was, but it wasn't nearby. So we formulated a rescue plan wherein I parked the side-by-side in between the victims and the roadway,” said Werrell.

Werrell’s partner then dragged the victims to the roadway. The officers loaded the two women into the Gator and transported them to the road. The paramedics were able to load them and take them away in the ambulance.

“It's one of the most frightening things I've done in 21 years, for sure. The thought in your mind is that you have to do whatever you can to get the victims out. They were screaming help us, help us, help us," said Werrell.

Leosette was airlifted to hospital in Edmonton while Analyn was airlifted to hospital in Vancouver. The two women have a long recovery ahead of them.

“There was some intense feelings of guilt for sure because we realize that the two victims were there for about an hour before we were able to get to them. You realize that they were in contact with this bear and that the bear was in close proximity to them and what they must have felt,” said Werrell.

“Hearing that they're healing and I'm hearing reports that they're even walking around now and doing better has certainly helped us be able to be okay with the whole ordeal,” added Werrell.

The RCMP is aware of the actions that were taken by Werrell and the two other officers. Recommendations are being made to honour the officers for their bravery in saving the lives of the 2 victims.