CHATTAROY, Wash. — Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers were tracking a cougar that was spotted near Chattaroy Elementary Tuesday afternoon when the decision was made to kill the cougar.

Riverside School District Superintendent Dr. Ken Russell said the cougar was laying in the sun outside of Chattaroy Elementary on North Yale Road.

The school was previously placed in lockout but Fish and Wildlife officials said the cougar was never on the campus. The lockout has since been lifted. 

Officials said they 'treed' the cougar about a mile and a half away from the school. The cougar later got as close as a half mile from the school, when Sgt. Mike Spreecher made the decision to kill the cat in the interest of public safety.

The school district has notified parents by voicemail, email, text and Facebook to let them know what’s going on at the school, Russell said. He said all students and teachers are safe. Sgt. Mike Sprecher later said that no one was in any immediate danger.  

Fish and Wildlife said they will now collect DNA samples as well as a tooth sample to verify the cougar's age. They will then dispose of the carcass. It is currently estimated to be under two and a half years old. 

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