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Boulder Police Chief: Resignation Does Not Affect Elk Killing Investigation

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Former Boulder Police Officer Sam Carter poses with the elk he shot with his service gun while on duty. (credit: CBS)

Former Boulder Police Officer Sam Carter poses with the elk he shot with his service gun while on duty. (credit: CBS)

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- The Chief of Boulder Police and Boulder District Attorney said the resignation of two officers following charges over the killing of an elk will not impact the criminal investigation.

“It does not. Those two are completely separate, we are completely walled off from the personal process. They make their decisions as is appropriate,” said Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett.

Garnett and Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner spoke about the two police officers who had resigned and the status of the investigation Tuesday evening in front of the Boulder City Council.

Sam Carter, 35, and Brent Curnow, 38, were both arrested on Friday after District Attorney Stan Garnett filed multiple charges against them, including unlawful taking of an elk, killing of an elk out of season and conspiracy.

Sam Carter and Brent Curnow (credit: Boulder Sheriff)

Sam Carter and Brent Curnow (credit: Boulder Sheriff)

The officers resigned Tuesday, four days after the district attorney filed charges against them.

“We gave them until the end of today [Tuesday] to have their letters to us if that’s what they intended to do and we received those letters at about 1 o’clock,” said Beckner. “So they’re no longer employees with the Boulder Police Department.”

Carter was on duty and on patrol on Jan. 1 near the intersection of 9th and Mapleton when allegedy he shot and killed the animal with a single shot and then called Curnow. After Carter posed for a photo with the elk, Curnow “took the elk in his own vehicle to process the meat for personal use,” Beckner wrote in a letter to residents. Beckner said the shooting wasn’t reported by either officer until residents began to ask questions.

Neighbors say the elk had been living in their neighborhood for weeks and was not a threat.

The elk wandering around Boulder before it was shot. (credit: Lara Koenig)

The elk wandering around Boulder before it was shot. (credit: Lara Koenig)

Beckner said Carter reported that he felt the animal needed to be “humanely euthanized” because it was injured, but text messages prosecutors say the two officers exchanged that night painted a different picture. They included the messages “Should I go hunting?” … “Did you shoot him?” … “Too many people right now.” … “You gonna be able to help butcher it? Or are you gonna go home sick?” … “You should have killed it” … “Oh he’s dead tonight. His right side is broke off at the main beam. And he looks a little smaller.” … and “If we could find the broken part of the antler I could fix it for a mount”

Garnett said that the publicity over the situation had no influence on his decision to file charges. A silent walk, a candlelight vigil for the elk and meetings with Beckner followed the shooting.

Beckner said that kind of behavior is not tolerated in the Boulder Police Department. He also invited the city council to the next police briefing.

“You’re welcome to attend, look those officers in the eye and ask them whatever questions you want to ask them and see what you think. These officers are as shocked as you are and I am,” said Beckner.

Garnett hopes to have the case wrapped up by the end of the year.

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