A SWAT sniper ended what could have been a major disaster for property and civilians of Colorado Springs Tuesday night with a single shot from his high-powered police issued rifle.
Officer John Havenar was quickly deployed to the city’s Thorndale Park after a call came in that a tractor-sized bison had escaped from G&C Co. packing plant on 21st Street.
Havenar located the animal and took it down with one shot. This was great news to all involved, as the last thing the city needed was a repeat of what is now referred to as the Great Bison Massacre of 2005. On May 9 of that year, five bison escaped G&C when the trailer they were being delivered on failed to line up with a loading chute (It is unclear how Tuesday’s bison escaped as news outlets are reporting that G&C isn’t answering phone calls).
The nearly 5,000 pounds of escaped buff ran into a nearby yard. When one of the animals charged, police unleashed a hail of .223 caliber bullets (83 to be exact). In describing the mayhem to the Gazette that day Police Lt. Larry Larson said their ammunition just wasn’t powerful enough and that some of the bison that were shot multiple times in the head, “didn’t even flinch.” Not only were the rounds ineffective against the bison but according to witness Janis Hahn, “They hit houses, they hit cars and so, no one was hurt, but there was potential for collateral damage,” she told the Gazette.
Following an investigation of the event police were given proper training on how to deal with charging animals, especially bison and animal anatomy. It’s a good guess that John Havenar paid attention in class!