Boulder police officer under investigation after he shoots, kills elk, but doesn't report incident

BOULDER, Colo. - A Boulder Police officer who shot and killed a bull elk Tuesday night, but didn't report the incident, is under investigation.

"It appears that the officer did not inform Boulder Police Dispatch about his intentions to dispatch the animal, nor did he notify an on-duty supervisor or file a report on the incident," Boulder Police said in a news release sent to 7NEWS. "Since there was no record about the Boulder Police Department’s involvement, it created confusion about who was responsible. We apologize for the confusion and have initiated an internal personnel investigation into the matter."

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is also investigating the shooting to determine whether a crime was committed.

The officer, who is not being named by the Boulder Police Department, said he was on routine patrol when he saw the elk that appeared to be injured.

"In the officer’s judgment, the animal needed to be humanely put down," Boulder Police said.

Officials said the officer shot and killed the elk with one shot from a shotgun.

The family who lives at the home where the elk was shot told 7NEWS the elk came to their yard often because he liked to snack on their crabapple tree.

"He was a little aggressive at times, I think he just really wanted to eat," said Lara Koenig. "He was a little bit lost sometimes. He used to wander down the back of all our backyards."

Koenig said the elk was a bit of a neighborhood legend.

"Everyone had different names for him, we called him Big Boy, other people called him Rufus or Humphrey," said Koenig. "Everyone has their different names or different connections to him, but he's been around for a couple years."

Koenig told 7NEWS the police officer told them he came by to check on the elk because police had taken reports about an aggressive elk in the area. The officer told the family not to be surprised if they heard a gunshot and a couple minutes later they did.

The family said the officer took pictures with the elk, then a black pick-up truck pulled up and took the elk.

"The elk was taken home to be processed for meat by another officer, who was off-duty at the time," Boulder Police said.

 

An on-duty Boulder sheriff's deputy was also on scene. A spokesperson told 7NEWS the deputy is not under investigation at this point and was asked to file a report after the incident came to light.