A Colorado man was shopping when he heard gunfire that killed a Denver police officer, rushed out of the store with his gun and shot the suspect, according to a worker who saw the shooting.
John Hurley was shot and killed by a police bullet, Denver7 Chief Investigator Tony Kovaleski has confirmed through three informed, ranking sources — including two law enforcement sources.
Bill Troyanos told Denver news station KMGH-TV that he was working at the Army Navy Surplus store in downtown Arvada when he and a hero later identified by police as 40 year-old John Hurley heard shots and spotted a gunman in a plaza outside. Hurley then rushed to confront the shooter.
“He did not hesitate; he didn’t stand there and think about it. He totally heard the gunfire, went to the door, saw the shooter and immediately ran in that direction,” Troyanos said. “I just want to make sure his family knows how heroic he was.”
Troyanos said he heard Hurley fire five or six shots. The gunman, identified by police as 59-year-old Ronald Troyke, fell against a parked vehicle, he said. Hurley, who lived in Denver, was killed, as were the gunman and Arvada police Officer Gordon Beesley, a 19-year department veteran and beloved school resource officer.
Authorities were still investigating the shooting that happened in Olde Town Arvada, a historic and popular downtown district with restaurants, breweries and shops about 7 miles northwest of downtown Denver.
In a statement Wednesday, police acknowledged that questions remained unanswered, saying they had not finished interviewing witnesses and were waiting for forensic evidence. “We hope in the next few days to have all of this information and we promise to provide that to our citizens,” it said.
Police Chief Link Strate called Hurley a “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.” He said the gunman targeted the officer because he was wearing an Arvada police uniform and badge.
“Officer Beasley was ambushed by someone who expressed hatred of police officers,” Strate said. A note left behind by Troyke and recovered after the shooting contained threats against Arvada police officers.