A young deer died in Rockefeller Hall at Cornell on Thursday, about two hours after it jumped off of a ledge and charged through a glass window, landing injured, bloody and stuck in a graduate student office.
The male deer died in Room B21 after grunting and struggling with a state environmental conservation officer and two animal control employees as they attempted to calm and restrain the deer so it could be tranquilized and treated for its injuries.
The wild incident began around 12:15 p.m., when the deer was running along the south roof of Clark Hall, which can be accessed from the street, and slamming against several windows, two witnesses said.
The buck then jumped down from the roof — about a 12-foot drop — likely injuring one of its hind legs, Prof. Robert Thorne, physics, and Laura Kipfer, an administrative staff member in the physics department, told The Sun.
Appearing confused by its reflection in a basement window of Rockefeller Hall, the deer backed up, sped “full speed ahead” and “leapt straight through” the window, Kipfer said, shattering the glass pane and confining itself to the small graduate student office.
Thorne said he peeked inside after hearing the “loud crash” and saw a large gash on the deer’s left, front leg and blood coming from near its right, hind foot.
Thorne called Cornell Police, and two officers arrived on the scene, followed by two animal control workers and an environmental conservation officer from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.
The DEC officer and the two Wildlife Resolutions employees entered the graduate student office at about 1:40 p.m., as two Cornell Police officers stood guard and about 20 students stood at the end of the hall waiting to see the deer.
John Hatfield of Wildlife Resolutions, the animal control company with which Cornell contracts, said before entering the room that he planned to confine the deer and put a blanket or towel over its head to keep it from panicking so it could be brought somewhere for medical attention.
After the three men entered the room, the deer grunted repeatedly and the sound of shattering glass and thumping resonated from behind the closed door for about five minutes.
“That sounds like a lion,” said Tammy, a Building Care employee.
About 10 minutes after entering the small room, an animal control employee asked Cornell Police to call for help from the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center. Six minutes later, the deer was dead, and Cornell Police cleared the hallway.
Students who had been hoping for a cute deer to exit the building in custody instead saw the wildlife experts removing the deer on a board, its bloodied legs poking out from under a white sheet.
“I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out the way we wanted it to,” Hatfield said.
David Honan, deputy chief of Cornell Police, said the deer “succumbed to its injuries” while waiting for tranquilizers to arrive.