The police officer killed in Olde Town Arvada was ambushed by a shooter targeting law enforcement, and the man described by authorities as a “Samaritan” prevented further bloodshed before he was killed as well, police announced Tuesday.
Arvada police Chief Link Strate identified the Samaritan as John Hurley, 40, of Golden, during a news conference at which officials offered few new details about Monday’s shooting in the shopping and dining district that also claimed the life of Officer Gordon Beesley.
“While we yet don’t have all the facts, I can tell you that Gordon was targeted because he was wearing an Arvada police uniform and a badge,” Strate said. “Officer Beasly was ambushed by a person who expressed hatred of police officers.”
Police have not yet publicly identified the suspect, who also was killed. They offered little information about Hurley’s involvement.
“He came into the Olde Town area in the middle of a shooting and prevented any further injury,” Detective David Snelling said.
Strate called Hurley “a true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.”
“Through our investigation, we have not made any prior connection between our good Samaritan and our suspect,” the chief said.
Late Monday, police identified the fallen officer as Beesley, a 19-year veteran of the Arvada department. Beesley served as a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School, but was working in the patrol division during the summer break.
Around 1:15 p.m.Monday, Beesley responded to a call about a suspicious incident near the Arvada library, police said. Soon after, calls about a shooting poured into the 911 dispatch center.
The midday shooting sent shoppers and workers fleeing to the backs of stores, while others scampered 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 the security cameras and saw people running — but she had no idea just how close the restaurant would be to the action.
Another employee began ushering staff and customers into the back room, where people hid behind tables and chairs.
“It didn’t seem real until I saw holes in the window,” Potter said Tuesday from behind the bar.
One of the restaurant’s custom front window panes was boarded up, the aftereffects of multiple bullets flying through the glass. High above the bar, two bullet holes were visible in the metal vent.
“I felt sick yesterday,” Potter said.
Written on the plywood boarding up the window was a small thank you note to So Radish’s staff from someone who took shelter there.
The vegan restaurant, as well as others nearby operated by the same owners, remained closed Tuesday to “give staff a day to process,” Potter said. She came in to do payroll, but admitted it was a little hard to focus.
Olde Town Arvada had a quiet feel Tuesday, with several businesses closed. A handful of people stopped to take photos of the memorial near the town’s main plaza, a small sign reading “In memory of lives lost, June 21, 2021” surrounded by a wreath full of purple and yellow flowers.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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