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Officers arrested in shooting of beloved elk in Boulder, Colo.

BOULDER Two officers who are alleged to have killed a non-threatening elk while on duty have been arrested.

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said Friday that officers Sam Carter and Brent Curnow were arrested on Friday and face multiple charges, including unlawful killing of elk, killing an elk out of season and conspiracy, CBS station KCNC in Boulder, Colo. reported.

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Reports say that the elk was shot by on-duty Boulder police officer Carter, who then posed with the animal's carcass shortly after the incident. Carter claimed that he "humanely euthanized" the elk because it was limping. Curnow then loaded the animal onto a vehicle and proceeded to process the elk for meet.

Boulder police chief Mark Beckner previously said the incident was against protocol, and neither police officer reported the elk's death until residents began to ask what had happened. Both officers have been suspended with pay and were undergoing a personel review for the shooting and not reporting they had fired their weapons.

Residents claim, however, that the animal was harmless. They said the elk seemed healthy before the incident.

A vigil was held for the elk, which had been called Big Boy, George and Elmo by the neighborhood. Some even said they considered the animal to be a "guardian" of the community.

"I don't see a whole lot of difference between the shooting of this defenseless elk and the shooting of school children in Connecticut," one vigil attendee told KCNC.

Garnett said public outrage had nothing to do with the decision by his office to file charges.

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