Officers charged with killing elk in Boulder sent lawyer to their interrogation to resign

BOULDER - Two police officers charged with felonies in the shooting of a trophy elk in Boulder’s historic Mapleton neighborhood resigned by sending lawyer to their scheduled interviews with the Boulder Police Department's Internal Affairs department.

Representing both Sam Carter and Brent Curnow, attorney Marc Colin appeared at the scheduled appointments on January 21. According to the executive summary of a report on the case from the Boulder Police Department, Colin announced both officers would resign on January 22.

Carter is accused of shooting and killing the elk on January 1, while it was eating crab apples from a tree at 9th and Mapleton Streets.

"The elk in question had been around Boulder for many months and was admired by many officers. Some officers even took pictures of the elk due to its size and beauty. After the shooting, the officers who worked with Carter and Curnow were shocked, disappointed, and angry that they would do such a thing," the police department's report says.

An affidavit states that Carter didn’t tell his superiors that he discharged his weapon until neighbors contacted news organizations to learn what happened.

Investigators say Carter then told them that the elk was injured and showing signs of aggressive behavior.

Initially, the department believed Carter and said, "In the officer’s judgment, the animal needed to be humanely put down."

But further investigation uncovered new evidence.

According to the affidavit, Carter and his friend, Officer Brent Curnow, had been talking about killing the elk since 3 a.m.  The elk was shot and killed around 11:50 p.m.

An investigation showed that after the elk was shot, Curnow drove up and loaded the animal into the back of a pickup, then took it away to process the meat.

The police department's report on the case indicates Police Chief Mark Beckner also asked for feedback about two other officers' decision-making in relation to this case. One had made a post about the elk on a Facebook page and the other involved the timing of informing the department about Carter's involvement.

According to the report, the Internal Affairs Review Panel and department supervisors agreed that both situations should be "handled as learning experiences to be addressed through documented counseling with supervisors."

Read the Executive Summary of the Boulder Police Department's report: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/files/Police/Executive_Summary_-_Elk_Shooting.pdf