DENVER (AP) – Johnny Hurley has been hailed by police as a hero for shooting and killing a gunman who they say killed an officer and expressed his hatred towards police in a Denver suburb.
But when another officer rushed to respond and saw Hurley holding the suspect’s AR-15, he shot Hurley, killing him, police revealed on Friday.
The disclosure helped clarify what happened on Monday when three people – Hurley, Arvada police officer Gordon Beesley and suspected gunman Ronald Troyke – died in a series of shootings in the historic downtown -City of Arvada, an area with popular shops, restaurants and breweries and other businesses about 10 miles northwest of downtown Denver.
According to a timeline and video released by police, Troyke, 59, ambushed Beesley after parking his truck in a parking spot near Beesley’s patrol car as Beesley responded to a report of a suspicious person.
The video shows Troyke running towards Beesley in an alleyway. When Beesley turns around, Troyke raises his gun and shoots him as two people stand nearby, police said. Beesley falls to the ground in the video.
According to the video, apparently from a surveillance camera and police narration, Troyke grabs an AR-15 rifle from his truck and carries it when Hurley confronts him and shoots him with a handgun. When another officer arrives, Hurley is holding Troyke’s AR-15 and the officer has opened fire, police said.
Hurley’s shot at Troyke and the officer’s shot at Hurley are not shown in the video.
Police had not previously confirmed Hurley’s role or indicated who shot him. In the video released Friday, Police Chief Link Strate described Hurley as a hero whose actions likely saved lives. He did not apologize, but called Hurley’s death by a response officer “just as tragic” as Beesley’s murder.
“The threat to our officers and our community has been stopped by a hero named Johnny Hurley,” Strate said. “Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life.”
In a separate statement, the Arvada Police Department said: “Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears responsibility for this tragic sequence of events.”
Hurley’s shooting by the unnamed officer is being investigated by a team of other area law enforcement officers led by the district attorney’s office. The district attorney will use the findings to decide whether the officer was justified in using lethal force or whether he should be charged with a felony.
This officer has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation.
Police say Beesley was targeted because he was an Arvada police officer. The department released excerpts from a document written by Troyke on Friday in which he said he planned to kill as many Arvada police officers as possible, seeing his actions as a way to hold the police to account.
“We the people have never been your enemy, but we are now,” he said.
About 40 minutes before the shooting, Troyke’s brother called the police asking them to watch him because he said his brother was going to “do something crazy”. Beesley and another officer tried to find Troyke at his home near the city center, but couldn’t, police said.
A teenager then called the police to report a suspicious person – an older man who approached, made a strange noise and showed him a condom. This is the call Beesley was responding to when he was shot.
Hurley’s family released a statement Friday night saying they were grateful for the support of the city and the police and awaited the outcome of a third party investigation into the shooting that killed the man from 40 years.
A witness had said this week that Hurley was shopping in the neighborhood on Monday when he heard gunshots and rushed to confront the shooter with his own rifle.
“He didn’t hesitate; he didn’t sit there thinking about it. He totally heard the shots, walked towards the door, saw the gunman and immediately ran in that direction, ”said Bill Troyanos, who works at the Army Navy Surplus store in downtown Arvada. , at the Denver news station KMGH-TV.
Troyanos said he heard Hurley fire five or six shots. The gunman fell into a parked vehicle, he said.
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