No charges against Arvada police officer who shot and killed ‘Good Samaritan’ during attack in Olde Town

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A makeshift memorial to Johnny Hurley in Olde Town Arvada. A civilian, he was killed by gunfire Monday, June 21, 2021. Hurley confronted shooter Ronald Troyke, who had just killed Arvada police Officer Gordon Beesley with a shotgun. Hurley took Troyke’s assault rifle from his body, and was holding the weapon, when he was shot by another officer.

No charges will be filed against the Arvada Police officer who shot and killed a good Samaritan in June who police say stopped a mass shooting in the city’s Olde Town area.

Arvada Police officer Kraig Brownlow was working in a substation in Arvada’s shopping and restaurant district with two other officers when Ronald Troyke, dressed in all black and armed with an assault rifle and a shotgun, parked downtown and ambushed Arvada officer Gordon Beesley, who was out on patrol at the time.

At Troyke’s home, there was a letter he wrote about killing police officers.

After killing Beesley, Troyke continued to shoot out windows in Arvada Police vehicles. 

In the early minutes after the assault, Brownlow and the other officers didn’t know that Beesley had been killed and were trying to figure out what to do from the substation, the letter said. They were concerned they weren’t wearing proper body armor and that the door to the substation wouldn’t stop AR rounds. 

That’s when Johnny Hurley, 40, a concealed carry permit holder who was shopping nearby, shot and killed Troyke. He then went over to pick up Troyke’s assault rifle on the ground. 

Brownlow, peering out of the substation, did not see that exchange. Instead, moments later, Hurley walked into view, holding his pistol and the rifle. Believing Hurley was part of the attack, Brownlow cracked open the door and fired three rounds, striking Hurley.

“We lost two people that day when a mass shooter brought violence to the heart of Olde Town Arvada,” said Jefferson County District Attorney Alexis King. “We lost Johnny Hurley, a young man who made an incredible choice to engage on behalf of strangers.”

In justifying Brownlow’s actions, King wrote in a decision letter that the facts must be viewed as they appeared to him at the time.

“Officer Brownlow reasonably believed that the man in black was firing the weapon repeatedly, having heard at least three series of gunshots in or near the popular Olde Town square. Officer Brownlow also knew that APD vehicles had been shot,” the letter said. “It is after those observations that John Hurley appeared in view, about 180 seconds later … Brownlow did not know, and could not have known from his vantage point, of the murder of Officer Beesley or of Hurley’s role in eliminating the threat posed by the man in black.”

Hurley’s mother, Kathleen Boleyn, who has hired Siddhartha Rathod and Qusair Mohamedbhai as attorneys, issued a statement through her lawyers on Monday.

“I imagine that many people are angry and that is understandable. I would ask that instead of acting out on your anger, that you use that energy to be the change you wish to see in the world,” Boleyn said. “Engage in meaningful conversations that might make a difference in how we all may move forward together.”

The city of Arvada released its own statement praising Hurley for protecting others without thinking of his own safety, while also reiterating support for Arvada’s police department.

“This incident illustrates the nearly unfathomable decisions society asks our police officers to make as they go about their everyday work,” the statement said.

Brownlow, who had been an officer for six years in Arvada at the time, is still on leave from the department. 

Arvada Police spokesman Det. Snelling said that was “his choice.” 

“It was a horrible event,” he wrote, in an email.