WATCH: Bodycam footage shows moments leading to Annie the deer’s shooting
LAWRENCE, Mich.-- ABC57 News obtained the body camera footage from the incident leading up to a Pokagon Tribal Police Officer shooting a deer in Van Buren County on October 20.
That deer, beloved in the community, was named Annie. That officer, who claims to have gotten cleared by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), was fired for his actions.
In the bodycam footage, and the subsequent police report, which ABC57 got after filing a public records request, it stated Loza was cleared to euthanize Annie by the DNR. However, they told us multiple times they had nothing to do with this.
In a call with the officer in question, David Loza, he declined an interview and wanted all attention directed away from his family.
After killing the deer, Loza was emotional, saying in an outburst, "You know what? This is not something I like to do."
The whole ordeal started with Van Buren County Sheriff's deputies arresting a known fugitive in an unrelated case. While arresting the person from that home on Red Arrow Highway in Lawrence, Mich., they saw a deer approach and hang out, not leaving like a normal deer would around humans.
That's when officer Loza asked if the deer was a pet, and said if that's the case, he would have to put her down.
The family pleads with the officer in the video, saying the deer was never in captivity and would only eat food scraps on occasion. Despite that, Loza shot the deer.
In a statement from Pokagon Band Tribal Police Chief Mario Redlegs, he stated, “Mr. Loza ignored comments from citizens and misidentified Annie as a ‘pet deer.’ He acted independently and committed multiple policy violations in his decision to euthanize Annie without just cause."
Additionally, the Michigan DNR replied to emails from ABC57, writing in part, “The DNR did not grant permission and we did not give an order. Doing so would not have been within our authority given that this was an action undertaken by other law enforcement agencies.”
Loza was fired for his actions, but it's still unclear who gave the okay to kill the deer, if Loza was in fact given that order.