Brent Degroot, Forest Lake officer, cleared of wrongdoing for killing deer in caretaker's yard

Carpenter's beloved deer were gunned down by officer Brent Degroot, who has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
Carpenter's beloved deer were gunned down by officer Brent Degroot, who has been cleared of any wrongdoing.

In February, we brought you the story of Jeff Carpenter, a Forest Lake resident whose two beloved deer were unceremoniously shot in his front yard by a young policeman named Brent Degroot.

At the time, Carpenter said his family was "trying to move on," but added that life wasn't the same following the shootings of fawns Abbie and Pinkie, who visited Carpenter's home to be fed every day.

Carpenter filed a formal complaint requesting that Degroot be suspended without pay for his actions. But yesterday, the Washington County sheriff's office said they've determined Degroot did not violate any laws and has been cleared of all wrongdoing.

Neither the sheriff's office nor Forest Lake police are saying much about their investigation. In an email to the Pioneer Press, Forest Lake Police Chief Rick Peterson wrote, "I know you may want more information regarding this investigation, but because of data privacy laws, I cannot discuss any of the details pertaining to this incident or the contents of it."

Prior to the January 14 incident, the DNR had requested Forest Lake police kill the deer due to a false belief Abbie and Pinkie had escaped from captivity. That morning, Degroot almost crashed his vehicle into one of the deer, then used a shotgun to kill both of them just feet from Carpenter's home.

Upon hearing a second blast of gunfire, Carpenter went outside and saw a man wearing dark clothes standing near his house with a shotgun in hand. According to Carpenter, Degroot didn't identify himself as a police officer.

"The situation could have easily ended in injury or death to Degroot, myself, or both," Carpenter said.

In a statement released yesterday, Carpenter expressed frustration with the sheriff's review of the case, along with the fact that the details of the investigation aren't being released publicly.

He said he and his wife are exploring seeking justice for Abbie and Pinkie in the civil arena.

Previous coverage:
-- Forest Lake policeman kills domesticated deer in caretaker's front yard, under investigation

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