Janitor saw mountain lion on Santa Monica street; then it got closer
The janitor who discovered a mountain lion in the courtyard of a Santa Monica office building Tuesday morning said he had seen the big cat earlier walking along Arizona Avenue.
He was cleaning the building in the 1200 block of 2nd Street before 6 a.m. when he spotted the cat again.
“When I pulled out the trash bag, I saw the cat come to where I was,” said Rogelio Rodriguez, 48, who said he was scared and ran to call police.
Officers held the cat at bay until Fish and Game agents arrived. As a precaution, police also closed 2nd Street to vehicular and pedestrian traffic between Arizona Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard.
“It’s basically stuck in the courtyard,” Lt. Calisse Lindsey said at about 8:45 a.m., an hour or so before officers shot and killed the cat after trying to tranquilize it.
“A variety of means were used to try to keep the animal back in the courtyard,” he said. “The animal continued to charge and attempted to flee. ... It was euthanized to protect the public safety.”
Officials said a post-mortem examination of the cat would be conducted.
Lindsey said it’s not unusual for wild animals to stray into the city from the nearby Santa Monica Mountains. She has seen deer and raccoons, she said, but the big cat was the first of its kind in her memory.
“Not since I’ve been here,” she said, “and I’ve been here for 24 years.”
-- Angel Jennings and Kim Christensen
Photo: A pair of California Department of Fish and Game officers carry a body bag containing a young mountain lion who was shot and killed in a courtyard in Santa Monica. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times