Hundreds mourned on Sunday for the death on an Elk, who was shot and killed by an on duty police officer in Boulder, Colorado.
The turnout was substantial as people gathered on Mapleton Hill in Boulder, to hold a vigil for an elk who many towns people felt was wrongfully killed. The vigil was organized by Jim Riemersm, who stated that he wanted to give people "a little bit of closure" according to the local news.
"I know a lot of us have had a lot of anger, a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty," Riemersm told the Daily Camera. "Tonight's a celebration, a celebration of the elk. We loved him. But I think he loved us, too, because he returned to this neighborhood."
Another resident explained that the wildlife was an important part of life to many who lived in the area.
"People live here because we love the wildlife," Esther Parson said. "To murder an animal who feels like he's part of the neighborhood is despicable."
The elk had become a more prominent presence in the neighborhood over the past few weeks. A number of neighbors had spotted the animal; some regarded him as their "guardian" according to the Daily Camera.
The on-duty police officer that is accused of killing the animal was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. A second officer, who was off duty at the time but believed to have assisted the first officer with loading the animal into a truck, was also put on leave.
The report stated that the two men took the animal away "to be processed for meat." Mixed reports were offered as to whether or not the animal was aggressive or posed a risk to local residents.