Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett
Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett said he's pleased with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigation into the shooting of an elk last week by a Boulder police officer after meeting with officials Tuesday -- but doesn't expect to make a decision on possible criminal charges until at least Friday.

Garnett said Deputy District Attorney Jenny McClintock -- who is his office's animal cruelty specialist -- has been assigned the case and has been assisting Parks and Wildlife with the investigation into whether the Boulder police officers involved in the killing and removal of the elk should be prosecuted criminally.

"The meeting was very helpful," Garnett said. "I'm satisfied with the progress of the investigation."

Garnett said his on whether or not to file charges most likely will not come until at least Friday and possibly will need to wait until next week. He said investigators are still conducting interviews and waiting on forensic evidence, including an examination of the elk's body at Colorado State University.

"We're getting a lot of inquiries about what's happening with the case," Garnett said. "It's possible we could make a decision earlier, but it feels more like something will happen at the end of the week or later."

According to officials, a Boulder police officer was on patrol near Mapleton Avenue and Ninth Street at around 11 p.m. Jan. 1 when he encountered an elk that he said was injured. The officer deemed it needed to be put down and killed the elk with a shotgun, and then called an off-duty police officer to come pick up the carcass.

The on-duty officer did not tell dispatchers he was putting down the elk, nor did he report to his supervisors that he had fired his weapon.

Boulder police have identified the two officers involved as Sam Carter and Brent Curnow, and both have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the completion of an internal investigation. Curnow called in sick on the day of the shooting and operates a website called BuffaloPeaksTaxidermy.com.

Boulder County sheriff's officials say Deputy Jeff George also helped load the elk into a truck that night. He has not been placed on leave, although he, too, is subject to an internal investigation.

The shooting is under investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Samson's Law, passed in 1998 after a well-known bull elk in Estes Park was killed by a poacher who was fined just a few hundred dollars, adds substantial fines for the killing of trophy animals. The killing of a bull elk with six-point antlers or larger can carry a fine of up to $10,000, on top of the other criminal penalties for violating hunting rules. In addition, hunting is never allowed within city limits.

"We're trying to treat this case like any other case that is important to the community," Garnett said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or byarsm@dailycamera.com.