BOULDER, Colo. — New Year’s night, just before midnight, a Boulder police officer rolled up to the intersection of 9th and Mapleton, pulled out a gun and shot an animal in an action that has angered residents.
After watching a majestic elk—who people in the neighborhood had grown to love over the past three years—for a period of time, the officer decided to use a shot gun from his patrol car to kill the big 800-pound animal.
The officer says he was putting the animal out of its misery.
“We just think it’s awful,” said Chelsea Flagg. “We just think there is something fishy about what went on.”
Neighbors a few blocks from where the elk was gunned down used old Christmas trees to make a memorial to the big bull.
“We just think he was our protector, he ate our apples and just kind of was a symbol of where we live, just off the Foothills,” said Jim Riemersma, also a neighbor.
Turns out while neighbors knew police shot the elk, the police department didn’t.
The department even told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper there was a mystery about who killed the elk residents named “Big Boy.”
Come to find out the officer who shot the elk and a Boulder County Sheriff’s Deputy along with another off-duty officer they called to haul the prized bull away for meat, never told their departments about the killing.
It left Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner in the position of apologizing to the community, for what he called, “the unauthorized shooting of the animal.”
“We are in process of a personnel investigation into what policies were not followed and DOW (Division of Wildlife) is looking into the possible poaching of the elk by on and off-duty officers,” said Beckner.
No one in the neighborhood thinks the shooting was justified. They say this is as tragic as the killing of the elk Sampson in Estes Park several years back.
Now, all they can do is remember the big elk that strolled the Mapleton Hill area over the past few years, giving them an up-close, look at one of nature’s amazing creatures.