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Boulder DA charges officers in elk shooting

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BOULDER, Colo. – Two police officers involved in the shooting of an elk in a Boulder neighborhood on New Year’s Day will face numerous charges including unlawful taking of an elk, misconduct and conspiracy.

Warrants were issued for the arrest of officers Bren Curnow and Sam Carter. Both turned themselves in Friday morning and are out on a $20,000 bond, police said.

If convicted, they could face prison time and loss of their official police certification.

The felonies the men face include attempting to influence a public servant, two counts of tampering with physical evidence and forgery. They also face several misdemeanors.

See the details that led to the charges in the arrest affidavit here. The arrest affidavits are identical for both officers according to the Boulder District Attorney's Office.

The elk’s shooting sparked outrage among community members who knew the elk and even nicknamed him Big Boy.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner released a statement calling the charges "the right decision."

The Boulder Police Department fully supports the decision of the district attorney to pursue charges in this case, Beckner said. "We realize that this case has hit a sensitive nerve in the Boulder community, and I want to reassure our community that I understand their concerns and that I intend to hold these officers accountable for their actions."

Curnow, a 14-year veteran of the department, has been placed on unpaid administrative.

Police said Carter shot the elk near Ninth Street and Mapleton Avenue on New Year’s Day because the elk looked to be injured.

Curnow was off-duty and took the carcass home to process it for meat, a Boulder police spokeswoman said.

Neither officer reported the elk being put down to dispatchers, nor had Colorado Parks and Wildlife been notified.

Police officers are required to make a report whenever they discharge their weapons. Parks and Wildlife is supposed to be notified when a large animal is killed.

Beckner said both Carter Curnow are the subject of an internal investigation to determine if "these officers may have violated rules, policies or procedures."

"We needed to proceed cautiously with the internal investigation because we didn’t want to interfere with the criminal investigation," Beckner said adding that the department provided some evidence for the criminal case.

"We apologize for this unfortunate incident. We want our community to know that we take their concerns very seriously and that we’re working hard to correct this situation," Beckner said.

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