Man who shot Ella the Deer in cemetery identified, cited

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation cited a Kansas City man with killing the pet deer of Elmwood cemetery.

Phoenix M. Vankirk, 19, was cited for taking a deer out of season, which is punishable by a fine up to $275.

According to a probable cause statement, Vankirk admitted to a Missouri Department of Conservation agent that he shot the deer on the evening of Aug. 3, 2013 after seeing the deer standing in the cemetery. He said he wanted to tell the community he was extremely sorry.

According to the probable cause, Vankirk said he was standing on his porch grilling the evening of Aug. 3, when he saw the deer standing in the cemetery. Vankirk told authorities he retrieved his .45 caliber handgun from inside his home and jumped the fence to the cemetery. Once he was in close proximity to the deer, Vankirk shot it in the head. He said he watched in run for a short distance and then fall to the ground.

At that point Vankirk said he went home to get his car, but when he drove up to the cemetery he realized the gate was locked. Vankirk said he did not know the deer was tame and that he only shot it to feed his family, but once he realized he could not get his car into the cemetery he knew he would not be able to harvest the meat.

Vankirk was issued the ticket on Thursday.

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