The policeman killed in the old town of Arvada was ambushed by a gunman targeting law enforcement, and the victim described by authorities as a “Samaritan” prevented further bloodshed before being also killed, police said on Tuesday.
Arvada Police Chief Link Strate identified the Samaritan as John Hurley, 40, of Golden, during a press conference in which officials provided few new details about the shooting in Monday in the shopping and dining district which also claimed the life of Officer Gordon Beesley.
âWhile we don’t have all the facts yet, I can tell you Gordon was targeted for wearing an Arvada police uniform and badge,â Strate said. “Constable Beasley was ambushed by someone who expressed hatred of the police.”
The Jefferson County Coroner’s Office identified the shooting suspect as Ronald Troyke, 59, of Arvada, and ruled his death a homicide from multiple gunshot wounds.
Police provided few details of Monday’s events, including identifying who allegedly shot Troyke and how exactly Hurley came to be involved. It is not known when other Arvada police officers arrived at the scene after Beesley answered the initial calls.
Strate called Hurley “a true hero who probably disrupted what could have been a greater loss of life.”
Pressed by reporters at Tuesday’s press conference for more information on Hurley’s role, Detective David Snelling said: “He entered the Olde Town area in the middle of a shootout and avoided any other injury. “
The police chief noted: âThanks to our investigation, we have not established any prior link between our Good Samaritan and our suspect. “
Little was known about Hurley on Tuesday night.
A Colorado Bureau of Investigation records check revealed an earlier arrest of Troyke in 1992 in Gilpin County on a misdemeanor charge of third degree assault. The CBI report did not say whether he was convicted or not.
Troyke has also experienced financial trouble for the past 30 years, with federal bankruptcy court records showing he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 1992 and 2013. And Jefferson County court records show that he was evicted in 1995 and prosecuted in 1996 for a property debt. management company.
Within hours of Monday’s shooting, police identified the deceased officer as Beesley, a 19-year veteran of the Arvada Department. Beesley served as a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School, but worked in the Patrol Division during summer vacation.
At approximately 1:15 p.m. Monday, Beesley responded to a call about a suspicious incident near the Arvada library, police said. Shortly after, calls about a shooting poured into the 911 dispatch center.
The midday shooting sent shoppers and workers to flee behind stores, while others ran on foot to find shelter.
Audrey Potter was in the back office of the So Radish restaurant on Olde Wadsworth Boulevard when she heard gunshots. The general manager looked at security cameras and saw people running – but she had no idea how close the restaurant would be to the action.
Another employee began to bring staff and customers into the back room, where people hid behind tables and chairs.
âIt didn’t feel real until I saw holes in the window,â Potter said Tuesday behind the bar.
One of the personalized glass panes in the restaurant’s front window was barricaded, the aftereffects of several bullets going through the glass. Above the bar, two bullet holes were visible in the metal vent.
âI felt sick yesterday,â Potter said.
A small thank you note addressed to the staff of So Radish by someone who took refuge there was inscribed on the plywood covering the window.
The vegan restaurant, along with others nearby operated by the same owners, remained closed on Tuesday to “give staff a day of treatment,” Potter said. She came to do the payroll, but admitted it was a bit difficult to concentrate.
Olde Town Arvada had a calm atmosphere on Tuesday, with several businesses closed. A handful of people stopped to take photos of the memorial near the town’s main square, a small sign reading “In memory of the lives lost, June 21, 2021” surrounded by a wreath full of purple and yellow flowers .
The community participated in a vigil Tuesday night, broadcast live online by the city and hosted from the Lutheran Church of Peace, 5675 Field Street, by the local religious community.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams told the rally in the church, which included police and city staff, that he was comforted to “share the pain, share the experience, it’s hard … therefore very difficult “.
Large crowds lined up on a processional route to get a view of a hearse carrying Beesley, Williams said. “To see the outpouring of citizens coming to show their respect – that is a small ray of hope.”
Williams said he received a call of support and sympathy from Boulder Mayor Sam Weaver. Not so long ago, Williams called Weaver to comfort him right after the mass shooting on a King Soopers, where 10 people, including Officer Eric Talley, were killed in March.
âThe Arvada Police Department is family, grieving and caring for one another,â Williams said.
Patti Danford, deputy principal of Oberon Middle School, where Beesley was the Student Resources Officer (SRO), described the deceased officer as an “absolute delight”.
She read a text Beesley sent to some of the staff with a self-describing passage about climbing on the roof of the school to retrieve tennis balls and a basketball, a task carried out with “aplomb.” cat”. A student shouted, âOfficer Beesley, I didn’t know you were a ninja,â the text read.
Beesley was “heartwarming” and compassionate, “Danford said. âHe was an extraordinary presence in our building.
Several community religious leaders offered prayers for Beesley and the community he served, their community. There was a candle lighting ceremony with a sweet rendition of “Amazing Grace”, which the audience joined in.