A couple of hundred neighbors gathered to celebrate the life of an elk that many referred to as a guardian and protector of the community on Sunday night.

The vigil included a mix of neighborhood residents as well as animal lovers from around the area that were devastated by the elks suspicious killing by a local police officer.

The Incident

On Tuesday night, January 1st at 11 P.M. a Boulder Police Officer shot and killed a bull elk in the Mapleton Hill residential neighborhood of Boulder.

The officer shot the elk on a residential front lawn in what he stated as "the need to put the animal down humanely".  But, according to a spokesperson for the Boulder Police the officer did not inform dispatch of his intention to put the animal down, nor did he notify a supervisor and failed to file a report on the incident.  The officer also did not attempt to contact the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department to seek assistance in euthanize the injured animal.

The officer has since been placed on administrative leave, pending the results of an internal investigation.

A second officer, off-duty at the time, also suspected of assisting with the loading and butchering of the wild animal for its meat, has also been suspended.

Some local residents had named the large bull elk "Big Boy" and the animal had roamed in Boulder's Mapleton Hill area for several years and was not violent, according to those who had encountered the animal.

The case is currently under investigation by the Boulder Police Department's Internal Affairs as well as the Colorado Parks and Wildlife.