BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – The two police officers involved in the killing of an elk in a Boulder neighborhood have resigned, four days after the district attorney filed charges against them.
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.
Boulder police announced on Tuesday that Chief Mark Beckner has accepted the resignations of Carter and Curnow. Police said the “internal personnel investigation into the circumstances and their behavior” will continue despite the resignations.
“The Boulder Police Department does not tolerate this kind of behavior,” Beckner said in a prepared statement. “Police officers and other members of this department will be held accountable for their actions and behavior, and we want the community to know how seriously we take this breach of trust.”
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.
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.