A mountain lion came into downtown Santa Rosa before dawn Monday and was tracked by police officers for hours before hunkering down in a planter box outside the Santa Rosa Plaza shopping mall.

State fish and game officers shot the animal with a tranquilizer dart as it was hidden behind bushes but after several minutes it jumped up and ran, before stopping again, apparently behind a wall.

A crowd of downtown workers, unable to get to their desks as police have the B Street stretch cordoned off, watched the event unfold.

“I didn’t expect to be late to work due to a mountain lion,” said Kharman Aidun, who waited with coworkers along B Street.

Matt Defer also couldn’t get to work at a nearby attorney’s office. “Obviously it’s stressed or hungry,” Defer said of the animal.

The mountain lion was reported in the area about 4:30 a.m. and police officers began trying to track it. At one point before dawn it was captured in photos at the front entrance to the downtown mall, sitting near the iconic hand statue which many visitors use as a photo prop.

The lion apparently was finally asleep enough to pick up and relocate by about 9:45 a.m. and police expected to have area streets open close to 10 a.m.