The man hailed as a hero for preventing further bloodshed after a gunman fatally shot a police officer in Arvada, Colorado, on Monday was himself fatally shot by police, Arvada police said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Police say Johnny Hurley, 40, confronted the gunman, identified as Ronald Troyke, after Troyke had shot and killed Arvada police officer Gordon Beesley near Arvada’s Olde Town Square on Monday afternoon.
As Troyke ran toward the square with a long gun, Hurley shot the suspect with a handgun, according to Arvada police.
“A responding Arvada Police Officer then encountered Mr. Hurley, who was holding the suspect’s AR-15,” the statement said. “The officer shot him.”
“Arvada PD views Mr. Hurley’s actions as heroic; it is clear that he intervened in an active shooting that unfolded quickly in a busy commercial area in the middle of the day, and that he did so without hesitation. Mr. Hurley’s actions certainly saved others from serious injury or death,” Arvada police said in the statement.
The shooting incident took place when Troyke’s brother called Arvada police asking for a welfare check because he believed Troyke was going to “do something crazy,” the statement reads.
Beesley and another officer made the welfare check but were unsuccessful in locating Troyke, after which they were dispatched to Olde Town Square to check on a report of a suspicious person, according to the statement.
In surveillance video of the incident, the suspect can be seen parking his truck behind Officer Beesley as he is walking through a parking area.
Troyke gets out of his truck with what police describe as a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun. Troyke shot the 19-year-veteran two times, according to police.
“Officer Beesley did not reach for his gun and takes no defensive action — he simply turns in response to the suspect who then shoots and kills him,” the statement reads.
The suspect then shot out the windows of nearby patrol cars before running back to his truck to retrieve his AR-15, and back towards the square, according to the statement. Police say that is when he was shot by Hurley.
Police also confirm that they recovered a note from Troyke which contained a host of specific threats against the Arvada Police Department.
“Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can,” and “I just hope I don’t die without killing any of you pigs,” were among the threats spelled out in the document, according to police.
Monday’s shooting incident has triggered two separate investigations to this point, with the Arvada Police Department conducting the probe into Officer Beesley’s death. A multi-agency Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) is investigating Hurley’s fatal shooting, according to the statement.
“We want to be clear that although these two deaths unfolded as part of the same incident, they are being investigated separately,” Arvada PD says.
“Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears responsibility for this tragic sequence of events,” the department adds.
Statement by Hurley’s family
Hurley’s family put out a statement that was released by the district attorney’s office.
“Our beloved son and brother Johnny is no more. We loved him dearly. May he rest in peace. 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,” the statement said in part.
“We are deeply moved by the outpouring of love from the community and are grateful for the support of the Arvada Police Department and their partners. We don’t yet have all of the information about what happened to Johnny, and we look forward to learning the outcome of a thorough and independent investigation.
“As a family, we ask that there not be speculation in the media while the facts are being determined. It helps no one. We ask that our privacy be respected while our grief is still so fresh. We ask that any media inquiries be directed to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office,” the statement said.