Sykesville, MD – A Carroll County deputy was captured on video as he shot a groundhog that charged at him on a busy roadway on Sunday (video below).
The sheriff’s office said the groundhog was walking in the road and "causing vehicles to stop and creating a hazard,” so the deputy stopped his patrol car to help.
The deputy got out of his car and attempted to chase the groundhog out of the roadway, but the animal was not behaving normally, police said.
"Believing the groundhog to be either sick or injured," the deputy shot the groundhog, and "put the animal down for the public's safety," the sheriff's office said.
A passenger in one of the vehicles stopped for the groundhog filmed a video of the deputy’s interaction with the groundhog and it rapidly went viral.
The narrative by the woman filming the video was done in a humorous tone, as she repeatedly joked that the groundhog just wanted the deputy to pet him, making viewers think they were watching a video about an officer and a groundhog becoming best friends.
The fact that the groundhog was acting aggressively was lost on the narrator.
In the video, the deputy can be seen trying to get the animal to run away, out of the road, but the groundhog wasn’t budging.
In fact, the groundhog advanced on the deputy and slowly backed him up across both lanes of traffic.
In the video, the animal appeared suddenly charge at the deputy, and the deputy dropped to one knee and shot the animal.
In the graphic footage, the animal flopped on its back and continued kicking, so the deputy shot it again as horrified citizens watched.
The woman who shared the video on social media said she was shocked and "did not think that it would take this turn." She also said she was "sure the officer did the best thing in this situation."
The video went viral on the back of viewers' horrified comments.
You can see the video of the incident below. WARNING - Graphic Content: