Phoenix M. Vankirk, 19, of Independence, Mo. was cited by the Missouri Department of Conservation on Thursday for killing a deer out of season. Ella, a two-year-old doe was a favorite calming celebrity who lived peacefully at a Kansas City cemetery.
According to kshb.com, on the evening of August 3, Vankirk allegedly admitted to authorities he was on the porch grilling when he looked across the street at the Elmwood Cemetery and spotted the doe. He grabbed his 45 caliber handgun and shot Ella through her shoulder. The doe ran for a moment or two, and then collapsed and died.
Vankirk told police he had no idea the doe was tame, and he killed her for food for his family. When he drove his car to retrieve the deer's body, the gates to the cemetery were locked.
The gorgeous, gentle doe quickly became the mascot of the cemetery two years ago where she was born. At three months old, Ella's mother was killed by a car, but the doe who made friends with a stray dog remained at the cemetery and called the 43 acres her home. The Missouri Department of Conservation told the owners of the cemetery to allow Ella to remain at the location.
Mourners would frequently find solace as the doe with her big round, brown eyes would stand on the sidelines as funeral services were held.
Vankirk told authorities he apologizes for killing Ella and did not kill her as a malicious act.
A Facebook page titled Remembering Ella reflects considerable anger on Friday morning. Vankirk was issued a citation which carries a $275 fine for shooting Ella. If Vankirk does not pay his fine, additional penalties could increase to a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail.
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