Decision expected Friday on possible charges in shooting of Mapleton neighborhood elk in Boulder

BOULDER, Colo. - A decision is expected today on whether two police officers should face charges in the shooting death of a neighborhood elk.

Officer Sam Carter said he was on routine patrol on the night of January 1 when he saw an elk that he said appeared to be injured.

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

Officials said Officer Carter 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 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 hauled away the elk carcass.

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

The off-duty officer has been identified as Brent Curnow.

Curnow and Carter were put on administrative leave.

"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.

Two investigations into the shooting were launched -- one by the city and one by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said he was reviewing the evidence and would likely make a decision by Friday on whether the officers should be prosecuted.

"The tragic elk matter is under thorough investigation; a just decision will be made in due course, after all the facts are known as in any major case," said Garnett on his Facebook page.
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