A U.S. Park police officer shot himself in the foot while trying to protect himself from an aggressive raccoon Thursday.
But another officer saved the day by shooting the raccoon.
The incident took place around noon at Rock Creek Park, a 2,000 acre national park that has the highest raccoon density in the country, according to a university study.
Police say the raccoon attacked the cop, making him fear for his life.
However, a search through Nexis did not produce any previous articles of raccoons attacking humans in the park since the early 1980s, although there was one article about a cop killing a raccoon who was about to attack a dog in 1983.
A witness said the injured cop was transported to a hospital in a helicopter. Police said he is being treated with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to a raccoon removal company, raccoons tend to attack humans only when feeling threatened or when trying to protect baby raccoons.
Instead, raccoons tend to flee to avoid any contact with humans.
Also, raccoons are nocturnal creatures, so perhaps the cop disrupted its sleep, which led to the attack, causing him to fear for his life.
According to the Washington Post:
David Stout, a resident of the area, said he heard the shots and came out of his house to see what happened. He saw the injured officer on a stretcher flown away in a helicopter.
“I saw a dead raccoon, and heard a cop warn a guy walking his dog nearby, ‘Don’t go near, that raccoon’s rabid,'” Stout said.
In 1984, the Washington Post reported about a group of biologists studying the raccoons in the park, attaching beepers to the animals.
“It doesn’t look like we have a serious problem with rabies in D.C.,” said Rob Ford, resource manager for Rock Creek Park, said at the time.
“There have been no cases of people being bitten by raccoons while on any of the trails in the park.”