By Ryan Hill

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — A deputy had to shoot and kill a mountain lion that was following a family and couldn’t be scared away, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says.

According to the sheriff’s office, a family — consisting of a couple, two small children in a stroller and two dogs — called 911 on Monday to report that they were being followed by a mountain lion along a bike trail east of Placerville.

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“It doesn’t sound real when I tell this story,” said Nicole Pfingsten, whose family was followed by the mountain lion. “We just started being very, very cautious approaching the area. That’s when the cat saw us.”

The family and others tried yelling at the lion, but deputies say it kept on following.

“It was pretty scary. I was mostly trying to keep my three-year-old in the stroller and just explain to him we’re okay. Don’t be scared. Let daddy lead us back,” Pfingsten said.

Soon, a deputy arrived and spotted the lion pacing back and forth on the trail. The deputy also tried yelling at the lion, but it kept on walking towards the deputy.

The deputy then tried firing a warning shot at the ground in front of the lion, but the deputy says it kept on walking. With no other options, the sheriff’s office says the deputy put down the animal.

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“It sounds like the mountain lion was ultimately about 10 to 15 from him when the mountain lion was ultimately stopped. So it was moving toward him in a rapid manner,” Sergeant Eric Palamberg, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, said.

No other mountain lions were seen during the incident.

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The mountain lion shot and killed by the deputy has since been taken in by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to be studied.

It’s an unfortunate outcome no one wanted to see happen. But, this mother of two is just glad that help arrived to get them out of a terrifying trek on the trail.

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“Looking back, we should’ve been a lot more afraid. But, at the time, it was just ‘stay calm, retreat and keep distance between us and the cat,’” Pfingsten said.