First, the wild Rochester turkey showed up on social media video strutting around all puffed up.
The turkey was captured on video following police escorts down the street to safety. Some townspeople celebrated him, bestowing on him the name Jake — and to his ultimate misfortune — feeding him.
Jake sealed his fate when he chased a kid on a bike Tuesday. Police escorted him to a secluded garden area and shot him in the breast with a 9mm, according to interim police Chief John Sherwin.
Sherwin said the turkey had been hanging out for at least a month at the intersection of 16th Street and Mayowood Avenue Southwest. “It’s kind of a miracle that it hadn’t been it by a car or caused a major accident,” Sherwin said, adding that police were receiving multiple calls about the turkey every day.
“Frankly, we dealt with this bird too long,” Sherwin said.
Jake’s adopted intersection includes fast-casual restaurants, a senior living center and a new apartment building. Residents and diners were feeding the turkey and named him Jake, Sherwin said — a misnomer because a jake is a young male and this tom was full-grown.
Ultimately, the humanization of Jake hastened his demise because he wasn’t afraid of anyone.
“This is what happens when people try to feed wild animals. It’s not good for the animal. It’s not good for nature,” Sherwin said.
Among other annoyances, the turkey had pecked at parked cars. Video surfaced online of Jake chasing a motorcyclist. His final act came when he chased a child on a bike.
“The decision was made, in the interest of public safety, they needed to remove the bird from the situation,” Sherwin said. “You certainly don’t want it to hurt a kid.”
Sherwin said he’s received some complaints from animal welfare activists, but he’s confident the right decision was made. “If the most controversial thing in our police department is we shot a wild turkey that was a traffic hazard, then you’re doing pretty good,” Sherwin said.
As for Jake’s remains, he did not end up on a platter. “The idea that we had a turkey dinner at the police station is not accurate,” Sherwin said.