LA VERNE ( — Authorities are scouring the hills north of La Verne for a wounded bear that was shot by an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy protecting his family.

The deputy and his three young children were walking up the driveway of their home in a mountainous area north of La Verne at about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday when they came upon three bears near the trash bins, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.

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When the deputy tried to get his children to safety, one of the bears became aggressive and charged at them, prompting the deputy to fire several rounds from a handgun toward the bear, authorities said.

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The three bears fled into nearby brush and out of view. The aggressive bear was believed to be injured, but Department of Fish and Game officials were unable to locate any of the bears.

The family was not injured.

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Deputies from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s San Dimas Station and personnel from Fish and Wildlife were conducting their search near Live Oak Canyon, north of Baseline Road.