Perris residents were fearful of another mountain lion sighting after a 50-year-old homeless man suffered severe injuries in what officials believe was an attack over the weekend.
An emergency call was placed around 8 a.m. Saturday morning of a man suffering injuries to his face, chest, head and arms, according to Dan Sforza, assistant chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The man, who was injured near a makeshift shelter near Highway 74 and Navajo Road, was taken to a hospital where he underwent surgery, Sforza said.
Authorities believe his injuries are consistent with a mountain lion attack, but they were not able to question him as of Sunday because of his condition.
“We're going to try to talk to him today if he’s up for it,” Sforza said Sunday. "The victim has severe injuries to the face, the head, the arms and the chest."
The site of the incident is heavily populated, and authorities have placed baited traps in an attempt to catch the lion. Warnings have been put into place about the lion, Sforza said.
Residents were speculative yet fearful of the reported attack.
"I have a hard time believing a mountain lion would attack somebody over there," said one resident, who watched officials gather near the area after the attack. "I saw some commotion across the street. I wouldn't have expected it to be a mountain lion attack."
Another resident was worried for her family's safety.
"It's scary, it's frightening," Angela Garcia said. "My dad runs through here and he's seen a lot of wild animals, like snakes and stuff, but he's never seen a mountain lion."
DNA samples have been collected to match the lion if it is captured, according to a news release from the Riverside Sheriff’s Department.
If confirmed, the attack would be the 15th in California since 1986, officials said.