June 06, 2006

SIUC police officer shoots deer during attack

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale officials urge everyone to continue to avoid areas of campus woods and areas around Lake-on-the–Campus where deer live for the next few weeks. A SIUC public safety officer shot a deer Monday evening after it threatened several pedestrians and attacked him.

The officer, who received injuries to his forearm, wounded the female deer, which then left the scene. Officers located the deer early this morning (Tuesday, June 6) and destroyed it after conferring with wildlife experts.

Eric Hellgren, director of the SIUC Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, said the incident could be a pivotal event. "If it is one deer that has been doing all this, that would mean the problem is gone," Hellgren said. "If it's multiple deer, we might continue to see these kinds of incidents."

Other deer are known to live in the area.

In any event, SIUC officials urge people to use common sense and to avoid areas where deer are known to frequent on campus. SIUC has used local media, signs and free seminars to educate and warn students and others on campus, but many walkers and joggers have ignored police tape and signage in areas where the animals have been seen.

Capt. Kay Doan, of the SIUC Department of Public Safety, said the officer saw the deer crossing Douglas Drive and attempted to stop it from attacking a jogger by getting between the two.

"The officer said he turned around to make sure the jogger was continuing to move away from the area," Doan said. "When he turned back around the deer was charging him."

The officer fired a single shot, and the deer ran away from the area, entering a dense thicket just west of the Communications Building.

The officer was treated at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale and released, Doan said.

The most recent incident happened about 7 p.m. Monday (June 5) on Douglas Drive at Smith Hall. The area is near the same area where a similar incident took place May 23, when the University closed the area and the University posted warning signs.