The Atlantic City Police Department is conducting an internal affairs investigation into the shooting of a deer Saturday by a police officer after a three-hour pursuit through city streets.
Atlantic City police spokeswoman Sgt. Monica McMenamin confirmed the investigation, but declined further comment, citing orders by Deputy Chief Ernest Jubilee.
Police-involved shootings are typically the subject of an investigation.
“Standard protocol requires the filing of use-of-force reports,” said Atlantic County Prosecutor Ted Housel, who declined further comment.
In the release the day of the shooting, McMenamin said the deer was spotted by a patrol unit shortly after 4 a.m. Saturday, running through yards and playgrounds near the Chelsea Village apartments and the Atlantic City Hilton Casino Resort.
McMenamin said that “Fish and Wildlife” arrived at about 5:36 a.m. and that patrol supervisor Sgt. Kien Nhan asked for a tranquilizer — but after several unsuccessful attempts to barricade the deer, it was shot once and killed at 7:18 a.m.
A check with local agencies show that few, if any, carry tranquilizers.
“No county agencies have the ability to tranquilize wildlife,” Atlantic County spokeswoman Linda Gilmore said Wednesday. Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township does have tranquilizers, but zoo manager John Bergmann said his facility in Lacey Township would have been too far away to be of any help.
Although initial police reports said that Fish and Wildlife arrived on scene 90 minutes before the shooting, a state spokesman later said there was no record of that happening.
Deputy Chief Henry White confirmed Wednesday that the initial report of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife being on the scene was inaccurate. “They were called,” he said.
The deer was considered to be a threat to public safety. Police had previously attributed one minor accident to the deer, adding that it damaged several cars during its trip through the city.
Donna Cohen, who lived next door to where the shooting took place on North Chelsea Avenue, said she was asleep at the time and neither heard nor saw anything.
Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said that Fish and Wildlife took possession of the deer and disposed of it.
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