DENVER
01/18/2013 12:16 pm ET | Updated Mar 20, 2013

Mapleton Elk Shooting: 2 Boulder Officers Arrested And Charged In Trophy-Class Game Animal's Death

Two Boulder Police officers were arrested and bonded out in the case of the Mapleton elk shooting, Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett said Friday afternoon.

The officers each face felony and misdemeanor charges that could lead up to eight years in prison. The charges include unlawful taking of an elk, a Samson surcharge, taking an elk out of season, official misconduct, forgery, two counts of tampering with evidence and attempting to influence a public servant. The last three counts are felonies.

In Colorado, Samson's Law is brought into play when a trophy-class game animal is killed, as was the bull elk in this shooting instance. Trophy-class means the elk had six horns or more on one side of his head.

"Public outcry had no influence on my decision to file charges," Garnett told reporters during the news conference.

On Friday January 4th, the two Boulder Police officers were placed on paid administrative leave after it was discovered that they were involved in the New Year's Day shooting of a well-known bull elk on Mapleton Avenue. According to 9News, Officer Sam Carter -- who was on-duty and patrolling near the Mapleton neighborhood at the time -- shot the elk and off-duty Officer Brent Curnow showed up to take away the elk and have it processed for meat.

Carter can also be seen posing with the dead elk in a photo taken by a Boulder resident shortly after it was killed.

"There's a lot of evidence in this case, and much of it is electronic," Garnett told The Daily Camera on Wednesday, explaining that his office has been looking through cellphone messages between Carter and Curnow. Neither officer filed a report about the incident.

Earlier before the shooting, Carter had reportedly said the elk was behaving aggressively and appeared to be injured, though Boulder residents have called in to deny both claims.

In fact, Garnett has said he has received 15,000 emails and phone calls about the elk shooting, and the elk now has both a Twitter and a Facebook page.

"He was a little aggressive at times, I think he just really wanted to eat," Lara Koenig, who lives at the home where the elk was shot, told 7News, adding that the elk liked to snack on their crabapple tree.

The officers were released Friday on a $20,000 bond recognizance.

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