Police Haven’t Confirmed Crucial Details About The Olde Town Arvada Shooting. Here’s What We Know (And Don’t)

Police Shooting-Colorado
Colleen Slevin/AP Photo
About 30 police cars line up for a procession in honor of an officer who was fatally shot in Arvada, Colo., Monday, June 21, 2021.

Updated at 4:54 p.m. on June 24

An Arvada Police Officer who was involved in Monday’s shooting has been placed on administrative leave, Detective David Snelling with Arvada Police told CPR News on Thursday. 

Snelling said he could not share more details about the officer or their involvement due to an ongoing investigation. 

The Critical Incident Response Team, which activates when an officer fires a weapon and injures or kills someone, is involved in the investigation.

Also, Snelling confirmed to CPR News that police found a document in possession of the suspected shooter that threatened to harm police. But it is still unclear what exactly the document said, when it was written or when or where it was found.

Our original story follows below.

Few details have been publicly confirmed about the shooting in Olde Town Arvada on Monday that left three people dead, including the suspected gunman and a city police officer.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Arvada Police Department said that its officers aren’t ready to release any more information about the killings. Police also have not publicly confirmed or denied reports from other news outlets about the incident.

“We understand there are still several unanswered questions surrounding the incident on Monday. We want to be as transparent as possible,” the statement read. 

“We have not completed all of the witness interviews and we are waiting on forensic evidence. We hope in the next few days to have all of this information and we promise to provide that to our citizens.”

What police have said about the shooting:

Police said that Officer Gordon Beesley responded at about 1:15 p.m. on Monday to a report of a “suspicious incident” in the public square near the Arvada Library. 

At 1:30 p.m. police received reports of shots fired. Police said that Beesley was “ambushed” by a gunman.

Beesley, a 19-year member of the department who worked much of the year at Oberon Middle School, was killed in the shooting. A bystander, Johnny Hurley, was also killed. Police have described Hurley as a good Samaritan who took “heroic actions.” The department said that Hurley and responding police officers saved lives.

The suspected gunman, Ronald Troyke, 59, also died in the attack. Officers believe all three men were killed by gunshots, Deputy Chief Ed Brady said on Monday.

Police said that the suspect had “expressed hatred of police officers,” as Chief Link Strate said on Tuesday, without going into further details. Troyke is from Arvada and died of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Jefferson County Coroner's Office. 

Troyke previously lived in Aurora and worked as a truck driver, according to a bankruptcy filing from 2013.  His criminal record included a charge of third-degree assault from 1992, but records did not state the outcome of that case.

“I’m not saying anything right now. We’re grieving,” Troyke’s brother, Peter Troyke, told CPR News.

The officer who was killed, Beesley, “was a true gentleman and a kind soul,” Strate said.

The bystander, Hurley, was a “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life,” Strate said. Hurley was 40 years old, police said, and had no known connection with the shooter.

A GoFundMe started by a colleague of Hurley’s sister describes him as a long-time resident of the state.

"He leaves behind a grieving family including his parents and beloved sister ... He loved the outdoors, had a passion for food and cooking, and loved spending time with family even briefly when possible," wrote organizer Brian Romero.

What we don’t know:

Police have said little else about how the shooting happened. At press conferences, they have not said who shot each of the three men. 

The department did not respond to multiple further requests for comment made by CPR News.

Police also have not said why they think Troyke hated police. The department received “a document” that threatened harm to police, The Denver Post reported. But it was unclear what the document said, when it was written or how it was obtained by police.

“We are aware of information from the suspect which clearly shows this suspect targeted and sought out to kill Arvada police officers. We cannot release any documents related to the open investigation at this time,” the department’s statement on Wednesday read.

What happens next?

There are two investigations into the shooting. A criminal investigation will be led by the Arvada Police Department, with help from state and federal law enforcement. 

A second investigation will be conducted by a Critical Incident Response Team, with law enforcement officers from around Jefferson County. That investigation will look into the actions of police and make a recommendation to District Attorney Alexis King.

The response team investigates incidents “involving the discharge of a firearm by a peace officer resulting in injury or death,” according to the Jefferson County DA.

The Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation is collecting donations for Officer Beesley’s wife and two children. The GoFundMe fundraiser for Hurley’s family has collected more than $17,000. The department is warning about scam operators who are reportedly pretending to collect donations for the department or the families and asking people to give only to the designated organizations.

CPR audience editor Obed Manuel and justice reporter Allison Sherry contributed to this report.