"After a morning spent riding their ATVs, they stopped by a river around 2 p.m. to eat lunch. The two kids were on a sandy beach when the female mountain lion arrived, apparently also intent on a meal.
“She was walking and she just stopped right behind me,” P.J. said, his tone as matter-of-fact as if he were describing an encounter with a kitten. “I see my little cousin Brittany, she looks scared in her face. So I turn around and I see it. Then everyone starts saying, ‘Hold still. Hold still,’ so we just froze.”
“I was actually scared at first. I was shaking,” added Brittany, who said her discomfort was made worse because “I had an itch in my back.”
But when she heard her grandmother yelling, “Stay still. Don’t move. Don’t move,” that’s just what she did.
P.J.’s grandfather, Newton Smith, was about 10 feet away, and he’s convinced that had the children started screaming and running, the lion would have gone into lethal attack mode. Instead, it casually investigated P.J., who showed remarkable courage by standing stock-still as the animal scratched his back with its claws. Even when the lion opened its jaws and tried to get his head in its jaws, he didn’t move."
"Fortunately, another adult — P.J.’s uncle — in the party had brought a handgun along and had left it in a vehicle that was parked nearby. He ran to get the gun, and when the animal started to investigate whether P.J.’s head was bite-sized, Smith told him to shoot the animal, which he did with one extremely well-placed shot."
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