El Paso authorities said the big bird ran loose Tuesday morning, snarling rush-hour traffic near Interstate 10 and attacking the deputies trying to restrain it.
A release from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded at 6:45 a.m. to a report of an ostrich in the roadway, only to find that the wayward bird was actually an emu.
Deputies tried to prevent the tall, flightless bird from running into traffic on I-10, but when deputies neared the emu, it became aggressive, even lunging at them.
The Sheriff's Office said a passerby stopped to help the deputies contain and calm the bird, which slashed one deputy's pant leg with a sharp limb.
The deputy was not seriously injured.
The emu died as it was being transported to an animal control shelter. The cause of death was not immediately known.