PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Police shot and killed a bull moose in shallow water near a popular jogging trail, enraging onlookers.
The moose, which weighed nearly 1,000 pounds, had been wading for hours Sunday in Back Cove, a mile-wide bay off in the heart of the city.
Police said they had no choice but to kill the moose, which had come within 100 feet of shore, because of the danger it might charge the large crowd of people that had gathered. Tranquilizing the moose was not an option because the animal would have drowned, authorities said.
Some onlookers said they were shocked when the officer aimed and fired, and the moose fell. Some yelled and swore at the officers.
"I don't know how many people cursed me to hell," said Sgt. Gary Hutcheson, who fired three shots from a 12-gauge shotgun.
Hutcheson said he had hoped all morning that people would stay away from the moose so that police could avoid killing it.
"We were trying to ignore it, and trying to get people to ignore it," he said. "The problem is people think they're cute and cuddly. But, in fact, they are very dangerous animals."
Officers said they tried to warn the crowd.
"We told people, 'Folks, this is not going to be pretty,"' Officer Eric McCusker said. "'Please don't watch this."'
Ronnie Jordan, who turned his head as the shots were fired, said: "I'm just appalled. It was not threatening the public."