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Boulder police apologize for "confusion" over a bull elk shot by an officer

Another police officer is under investigation for an animal killing in Colorado -- and the victim is a tad bit bigger than Chloe the dog. Boulder Police officials, in a statement that includes an apology, say that an officer shot and killed a bull elk and took it to another officer to be "processed for meat." That unnamed officer did not report the incident and is now under investigation.

News of the elk death comes just a few weeks after the Adams County District Attorney's office announced a Commerce City police officer would be facing felony charges related to animal cruelty after a video caught him shooting a dog named Chloe.

On Tuesday, Boulder police say, an officer shot and killed a bull elk in the area of Ninth Avenue and Mapleton Street around 11 p.m. That officer was on routine patrol when he saw the elk, which he says appeared to be injured. Some of the elk's antlers had been broken off and it was limping, police say.

Example of an elk like the one shot in Boulder.
Example of an elk like the one shot in Boulder.
nps.gov / Sally King

"In the officer's judgment, the animal needed to be humanely put down," the statement reads. The officer fired one shot from a shotgun, killing the elk, which was in a residential yard. That animal was then "taken home to be processed for meat by another officer, who was off-duty at the time."

One problem, however, is that the officer didn't inform Boulder Police dispatch about his plan; nor did he notify any on-duty supervisor or file a report. This meant that there was no record of his involvement, which has created confusion about who was responsible.

That "confusion" is a reference to this Daily Camera write-up, which quotes neighbors who say that an officer killed the elk but that police had no record of it. Now they do. "We apologize for the confusion and have initiated an internal personnel investigation into the matter," the department's statement reads.

And the incident is apparently sparking a notable amount of interest from the media. Boulder Police spokeswoman Kim Kobel sent out an e-mail this afternoon that given the requests for interviews on the matter, the chief of police will be holding a media briefing at 1:30 p.m.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Denver's first homicide of 2013: Two men shot, one dead, on South Alcott Street"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.


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