Silent walk Sunday in Boulder to remember Mapleton's Big Boy elk

BOULDER, Colo. - A group is organizing a walk Sunday to remember Big Boy, the elk who was killed by a Boulder police officer on New Year's Day.

The Justice for the Mapleton Elk Facebook page is inviting people to meet at noon Sunday at 11th and Pearl.

The group said it plans to hold a silent walk from 11th to 15th Street. However, participants are welcome to download an audio file of an elk bugling that may be played as they walk. The Facebook page has a link to the audio file.

The purpose of the walk is to continue to raise awareness of the "Justice for the Mapleton Elk's" cause, according to the organizers.

Two Boulder police officers involved in the shooting death of the elk were put on administrative leave last week, according to Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner.

One officer, Sam Carter, said he was on routine patrol 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 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 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. "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 said it is also investigating the shooting to determine whether a crime was committed. CPAW has also claimed part of the elk.

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.