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Crime and Courts

Good Samaritan was killed by officer responding to “unspeakable tragedy” in Olde Town Arvada Square, police say

In a video statement Arvada’s police chief calls Hurley’s actions “decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life”

A photo from the scene of a shooting in Olde Town Arvada. (Ryan Dunn, Colorado Community Media)

Johnny Hurley, the good Samaritan credited with saving the lives of people in Arvada’s Olde Town Square on Monday, was killed by a police officer responding to the shooting that also left Officer Gordon Beesley dead.

The Arvada Police department on Friday afternoon for the first time released a timeline of the shooting that unfolded quickly in the busy commercial area near the public library.

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In a recorded statement that includes surveillance video corroborating the account, police Chief Link Strate called releasing the information critically important in the interest of transparency. 

“We lost two heroes on June 21 and we need to respect their memories and their loved ones,” Strate said. “Officer Beesley was responding to a call in the area of Olde Town Arvada and within seconds was brutally ambushed and murdered by someone who expressed hatred for police officers. The threat to our officers and community was stopped by a hero named Johnny Hurley. Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life. What happened next is equally tragic. A responding Arvada officer encountered Mr. Hurley, who was holding a rifle, and our officer shot him.”

Arvada police had previously released only minimal information about the shooting, which occurred in the busy Olde Town Square shopping district.

Initial reports said an officer and two suspects had been shot, but police quickly pivoted to say that one of the dead was a “good Samaritan,” who intervened after Beesley was killed. Earlier this week, a clerk in the nearby Arvada Army Navy Surplus store came forward and identified Hurley, who had been shopping in the store, as the person who killed the shooting suspect. But police did not say who had shot Hurley.

On Thursday, the police department said an officer had been placed on administrative leave. Officers who have shot people are typically placed on leave until an investigation can determine if the shooting was justified.

The recorded statement released Friday includes a precise narrative of the events beginning with Beesley being dispatched to a report of a suspicious person near Olde Town Square at 1:30 p.m. A minute later, he parked his patrol car and walked down an alley toward the square. 

As he did so, a man driving a pickup truck pulled into a parking space, jumped from his truck with a weapon and ran toward Beesley shouting at him. Beesley turned around and was immediately shot twice. Beesley did not reach for his gun or take a defensive stance, police said. In the surveillance video, bystanders are seen scattering, including a woman who for a moment takes cover near the suspect’s truck before running away.

The suspect then returned to his vehicle, shooting out the windows of patrol cars parked in the area and firing into the air. Back at the truck, he swapped out his gun and went back to the square, where Hurley shot him with a handgun. 

Another Arvada police officer arrived almost immediately and encountered Hurley, who was then holding the suspect’s AR-15, and shot him in what police called an “unspeakable tragedy.”

“Our police department and community view of Mr. Hurley is that his actions were heroic,” Strate said. “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 he did so without hesitation. His actions saved others from serious injury and death.”

The video statement said Arvada Police will release no more details about the shooting until after the Jefferson County District Attorney’s critical incident review team completes its work.


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