Several hundred people turned out for a candlelight vigil in Boulder, Colorado Sunday night for a shooting victim in the area. Not in honor of a person, however, but in honor of an elk shot by an off-duty police officer.
Those honoring the animal sang and told stories, while also seeking “justice” for the animal they apparently named “Big Boy.”
ABC7 News has background on the story:
The elk had been spotted for several weeks on Mapleton Hill between 9th and 11th streets, and residents of the area gave conflicting reports as to whether it had behaved aggressively toward humans, the newspaper said.
Two Boulder police officers have been placed on paid administrative leave while the investigation into the shooting is conducted. Colorado Parks & Wildlife is also investigating the incident and took posession of the elk.
But you really have to see the video to get the full story. Between singing “We Shall Overcome” and listening to speeches, one woman even compared the animal being shot to the horrifying tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary:
The Boulder Daily Camera relates some of the sentiment expressed at the vigil:
“He was a beautiful animal,” said Nancy Platt, of Boulder. “He was hurting nobody. He didn’t deserve what he got.”
Vigil organizer Jim Riemersma said he wanted to give the neighborhood an opportunity to grieve, celebrate and find “a little bit of closure.” The vigil was held on Mountain View Road at the site of a tree memorial and near the yard where the elk was shot.
“I know a lot of us have had a lot of anger, a lot of questions, a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “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.”
Still, emotions ran hot, with multiple calls to “fire the cops” and “jail the poachers.” A meeting between Boulder Chief Mark Beckner and residents concerned about the shooting is planned for Monday.
“People live here because we love the wildlife,” said Esther Parson, who lives in the foothills west of Boulder. “To murder an animal who feels like he’s part of the neighborhood is despicable.” [Emphasis added]
And here is more video from the vigil, via the Daily Camera. Unlike the first clip, though, this one is primarily of the attendees singing “Amazing Grace”:
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Featured image via Facebook.