In September, a Rutgers student was killed by a black bear while on a nature hike in NJ with some friends. Although bear sightings are extremely common around NJ, 22-year-old Darsh Patel became the first person killed by a bear in NJ history. Officials now say that Patel and his hiking friends may have attracted the attention of the 300-pound black bear, or at least escalated the situation, when they stopped to take several photos of it. "They stopped and took photographs of the bear with their cellphones and the bear began walking towards them," the police report reads.

Patel and four friends were hiking in the Apshawa Preserve on September 21st when the incident happened. According to Chief Timothy Storbeck, they ran into two other hikers who warned them about a bear who had been following them. When the bear was about 300 feet away from them, the five hikers stopped to take photos. From The Record:

The five pictures taken from Patel’s phone show the bear from approximately 100 feet, looking toward the hikers but still behind a fallen log, authorities said.

A sixth photo, taken by a friend of Patel’s who was apparently standing next to him, is virtually identical to the five from Patel’s phone. Those were the only six pictures taken by the group, said Ricciardi.

The hikers turned around when the bear kept approaching, authorities said. But the bear caught up with them, eventually closing to within 15 feet, investigators said. When the bear reached that proximity, the group split up running in different directions, they later told police investigators.

Patel was found mauled to death about two hours after his friends made a panicked call to 911; there were bite and claw marks on his body, and he was missing a shoe.

There are as many as 2,400 bears in the various forests around the state, and they were spotted in a lot of suburban neighborhoods this summer. Officials from the NJ Environmental Protection Department noted that the bear did not seem interested in food and exhibited "stalking type behavior."

Here are some tips of what to do (and what not to do) if you encounter a bear while on a hike.