Arvada police confirmed Friday that one of their officers fired the shot that killed “good Samaritan” Johnny Hurley during Monday’s attack that also left a veteran officer and his suspected ambusher dead.
“Our police department, and the community's, view of Mr. Hurley and his actions are heroic. It is clear that Mr. Hurley intervened in an active shooting that unfolded quickly in a busy commercial area in the middle of the day. And he did so without hesitation,” said Arvada Police Chief Link Strate in a video press release. “Mr. Hurley's actions saved others from serious injury or death.”
Strate said Hurley shot the suspected gunman Ronald Troyke, 59, with a handgun after Troyke shot Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley with a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun.
After he shot Beesley, Troyke went back to his truck and retrieved an AR-15. At that point, he was shot by Hurley, who then came closer and picked up that weapon. Another Arvada officer, who has not been identified, arrived on scene and shot Hurley.
The department also released a timeline of Monday’s events. It shows that an hour before the shooting, Troyke’s brother called police asking for a welfare check because he suspected his brother was going “to do something crazy.” Beesley and another officer attempted to contact Troyke at his residence but weren’t able to reach him. Then someone made a call to police about a suspicious person in the Olde Town Square. Beesley was dispatched to that call and arrived at the Square at 1:31 p.m.
In security footage released by the Department, a man who police say is Troyke is seen parking a truck in a parking lot near the Square and approaching Beesley from behind. Troyke shot Beesley twice, before the officer could draw his gun, Strate said. Troyke then shot out the windows of a patrol car and fired shots into the air, according to the police statement. Off camera a few minutes later, Hurley approaches Troyke and shoots him.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office have launched an investigation into the officer who shot Hurley; Colorado law requires an outside investigation whenever an officer kills or injures someone in the line of duty.
“Our beloved son and brother Johnny is no more. We loved him dearly. May he rest in peace,” said the family of Hurley in a statement released by the District Attorney’s office. “Before Johnny engaged in a clear-eyed response to a dire situation, he was already a wonderful human being with a great enthusiasm for life. Johnny had an inquiring mind, independent spirit, and strong principles, though he was beholden to no single cause or belief. He called out injustice when he saw it.”
The family said they look forward to the outcome of a “thorough and independent investigation.”
In a statement Friday, District Attorney Alexis King said, “We are committed to transparency, and the complete results of the investigation into Johnny Hurley’s death and all pertinent facts will be made known at the completion of the investigation, when all witnesses have been interviewed and evidence collected, and when doing so does not compromise reaching a just result.”
The officer under investigation is on paid administrative leave.
At the same time as the DA and sheriff’s office conducts its officer-involved shooting investigation, the Arvada Police Department continues to investigate Troyke.
A search warrant found that he left threatening notes behind about wanting to target law enforcement. The note said: “My goal today is to kill Arvada PD officers,” and “We the people were never your enemy, but we are now,” according to the Arvada Police Department which released excerpts of the notes.
Officials have said they don’t think there is any further threat connected to the incident.
“It’s important to distinguish that we have two separate investigations going on. It’s important to the Beesleys, it’s important to the Hurleys, to ensure we have integrity in these investigations,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader.
Arvada Police say Hurley’s selflessness in confronting the attacker saved lives and that Troyke would have killed more people had he not been stopped.
“He is a true hero, who likely disrupted a larger loss of life,” said Strate.
In an interview with Colorado Matters Friday, Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said the city continues to offer condolences to Hurley’s family, and that talk of recompense for the shooting is still far in the future, after any court processes play out.
“I can certainly indicate that (Hurley’s death) will be thoroughly investigated. We have excellent people who will give us advice, and we will make that decision at the appropriate time,” said Williams.
A private funeral for officer Beesley will be held Tuesday.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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