A black bear attacked four people ranging in age from their 50s to 90s and damaged a police car Friday in central Japan before being shot to death, police and other local authorities said.

A 95-year-old man and a 63-year-old woman were seriously injured in separate attacks by the Asian black bear in Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Friday afternoon.

Two male hunters, aged 57 and 72, sustained minor injuries after encountering the animal later, the police said.

Prior to these incidents, a police car was damaged when the bear rammed into the vehicle from behind and punctured one of the tires with its claws. The police were patrolling the area after receiving a report in the morning that the animal had been spotted at a shopping center in the city.

Following its assault on the vehicle, the bear fled into a house where hunters shot it.

According to the police, the bear was 1.3 meter in length and weighed over 100 kilograms.

The Ishikawa prefectural government had raised its bear alert to the highest level last week for the first time in 10 years following a number of eyewitness reports of the animal.

The latest bear attacks occurred in an area with fields and houses, about 6 kilometers from JR Matto Station. "It is scary. I thought we would not encounter a bear as we are distant from mountains," a woman in her 40s said.

Black bears are the only wild bears in Japan's largest main island of Honshu, where Ishikawa Prefecture is located, while larger brown bears inhabit the country's northernmost main island of Hokkaido.