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Former Boulder Officers Formally Charged In Elk Shooting Death

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)- Formal charges were filed Thursday against two former Boulder police officers in the shooting death of an elk that outraged a neighborhood.

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

Carter was on duty and on patrol on Jan. 1 near the intersection of 9th and Mapleton when allegedly 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)

Boulder Police Chief Mark 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"

Curnow's lawyer said outside of court today their investigation is just beginning.

"Discuss it with one another, discuss it with our client and determine after we've had a chance to conduct our own investigation what direction the case is likely to take," said Curnow's lawyer Patrick Mulligan.

Both Carter and Curnow are scheduled back in court in April.

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