An Indiana police officer is being investigated by his department after reportedly handing his loaded service weapon to a civilian after being unable to kill a wounded white-tailed deer that had been hit by a vehicle.
The Indianapolis Star reported that an unidentified Richmond police officer responded to a call the morning of June 29 about a driver hitting an animal. When he arrived, the officer found a white-tailed deer in distress and a few residents living nearby gathered near the deer.
A resident, Jerry Anderson, told police officials he went into his home to get his pistol to kill the wounded deer. When he returned, another resident had a gun and was about to shoot the deer to put it out of its misery.
“I went inside to get my gun, and when I came out, my wife told me that (the officer) said he couldn’t do it,” Anderson told the Star. “She said he had tears in his eyes, and he handed his gun to a stranger — his loaded gun.
“There were 10 to 12 people standing around, and there were two big guys there. One of them said they had a permit in Ohio, but they didn’t have it with them, and (the officer) gave his weapon to (the man) to shoot the deer. You should never hand your weapon to a person in a crowd.”
Anderson said he didn’t mind that the deer was euthanized due to its injuries, but he was concerned that an officer handed a loaded gun to a civilian. Police officials say the act is not a criminal offense but, after their investigation, internal discipline may be imposed on the officer for the action.