"That deer swam out and people wouldn't leave him alone," Colonel Steve Adcock, chief of MDWFP's law enforcement bureau, told the Clarion-Ledger. "People had literally worn the deer completely out. There was nowhere for him to escape to."
Despite this description, when asked about the deer's fate, Adcock confirmed that a game warden had killed the apparently uninjured buck - and cited "public safety" as the reason.
"It's a main highway there that has tons of traffic," Adcock said. "It was a public safety concern that it was going to cause an accident."
In other words, officers killed the deer because it was on a shore that was near a road. Adcock also said the officers don't carry sedatives, despite being tasked with managing wildlife, as they "are not veterinarians."
Unfortunately, this incident falls into an ongoing pattern of police and wildlife officials - who are often tasked with the conflicting interests of protecting wildlife and promoting hunting - resorting to fatal or excessively violent methods in situations that, experts say, are often non-threatening.
Last year, a mountain lion fell asleep by a building in Omaha, Nebraska, and was greeted with a hail of 16 bullets over a minute-long period, being shot each time he tried to rise. Experts later told The Dodo that the big cat posed no threat.
A few months later, another mountain lion was killed, this time in Great Falls, Montana. Her crime? Setting foot inside the city's boundaries.