Johnny Hurley was a Colorado Good Samaritan who was mistakenly shot by an Arvada police officer after heroically gunning down an active shooter who had already ambushed and murdered a police officer.
The murder of the officer, Gordon Beesley, was captured on a very disturbing video that police released in their efforts to provide transparency in the tragic sequence of events. They described the suspect as filled with hatred toward police, and they declared Hurley, of Denver, a “hero.”
He said that “transparency is critically important. We lost two heroes on June 21 and we need to respect their memories and their loved ones.” According to the AP, the gunman was named Ronald Troyke.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Police Say an Officer Shot Hurley Without Realizing He Was a Good Samaritan Who Shot the Suspect After the Suspect Murdered a Police Officer
In a news release, Arvada Police released a timeline of the events of June 21, 2021. It is as follows, in their words:
• 12:49pm – The suspect’s brother calls asking for a welfare check because his brother was going to “do something crazy.”
• 1:08pm -Officer Beesley and another Arvada PD Officer attempted to contact the suspect at his residence, to check his welfare as requested. They are unable to make contact with him, and clear from the call for service at 1:18pm.
• 1:17pm – Dispatch receives a suspicious person call in the Olde Town Square.
• 1:30pm – Officer Beesley is dispatched to the suspicious person call, arriving at the Olde Town Square at 1:31pm.
• Officer Beesley parked on Webster Street and walked through an alley toward the Olde Town Square.
• As Officer Beesley walked westbound, the suspect pulled into the area in a truck and parked behind him.
• The suspect got out of his truck with a 12 gauge semi-automatic shotgun, ran after Officer Beesley and yelled at him.
• Officer Beesley stopped, turned and immediately was shot twice by the suspect.
• 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 suspect then shot out the windows of patrol cars parked in the area and into the air.
• The suspect ran back to his truck and retrieved an AR-15.
• The suspect ran back towards the Olde Town Square with the long gun, where he was confronted by Mr. Hurley.
• Mr. Hurley then shot the suspect with a handgun.
• A responding Arvada Police Officer then encountered Mr. Hurley, who was holding the suspect’s AR-15. The officer shot him.
Police said that Arvada Police Department investigators “recovered a document written by the suspect which contained the following statements:”
• “My goal today is to kill Arvada PD officers”
• “We the people were never your enemy, but we are now”
• “This is what you get, you are the people who are expendable”
• “Hundreds of you pigs should be killed daily”
• “Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can”
• “I just hope I don’t die without killing any of you pigs”
“The suspect goes on to express that this is his way of holding law enforcement accountable,” police wrote.
Police said in a video news release that the “reporting person” was a teenager who reported an older male party walked up to him, made a weird noise, and showed him a condom, He said that Beesley was shot twice by the suspect.
2. Arvada Police Called Hurley’s Actions ‘Decisive’ & ‘Effective’ & Released a Disturbing Video Showing the Suspect Killing the Beloved Officer
Strate said that Officer Beesley 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.”
He called Hurley’s actions “decisive, courageous, and effective in stopping further life.”
“Mr. Hurley and his actions are heroic. He intervened in an active shooting that unfolded quickly in a busy commercial area… and he did so without hesitation,” said Strait.
“Mr. Hurley is a hero,” Arvada police also said in the news release. “He saved numerous lives to include civilians and other Arvada Police Officers. The Arvada Police Department understands and appreciates the public’s interest in the events that resulted in the tragic loss of Officer Gordon Beesley and the hero Johnny Hurley. We want to be clear that although these two deaths unfolded as part of the same incident, they are being investigated separately.”
Police reiterated: “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.”
They continued, “Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears responsibility for this tragic sequence of events. To protect the investigation, and consistent with CIRT protocols and applicable legal and ethical rules, Arvada PD will not comment further on the CIRT investigation until after it has been completed.”
3. People Filled Hurley’s Facebook Page With Tributes to Him
People filled Hurley’s Facebook page with tributes. Here are some of them:
“Rest in peace king, you are a true hero and the world would be an infinitely better place if more people followed your lead.”
“He will be immensely missed but never forgotten. Mr. Hurley is a hero. He undoubtedly saved many lives on Monday afternoon.”
“You are a true hero. You will always be remembered. Rest in peace.”
“Johnny, RIP brother.. thanks for your bravery to be the guardian on our lives that day.”
“Thank you for your service to your community. You are – and will remain always – a hero.”
“I believe that history has made him a martyr. Thank you sir for your sacrifice!”
“I did not know you, Ive never spoken with you, but you were my brother in Liberty, and dam it hurts. Lay your weary head to rest, We wont let you down Johnny. My condolences to the family.”
4. Beesley Was Remembered as a Friend, Brother & Partner; Hurley’s Family Called Him a ‘Wonderful Human Being’
Police also offered tribute to Beesley.
“It is clear the suspect harbored great animosity toward the Arvada Police Department. Gordon was a friend, a brother, a partner and part of us,” police said in the video release.
Hurley’s family also released a statement, according to Fox 31. It read,
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. Johnny had an inquiring mind, independent spirit, and strong principles, though he was beholden to no single cause or belief. He called out injustice when he saw it. He brought joy to many people and looked for the good in others. Moving forward without Johnny feels impossible. We are so proud of him. 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.”
5. On Facebook, Hurley Wrote That He Studied Cooking & Criticized Government Officials of Both Political Parties
On Facebook, Hurley wrote that he “studied Classic French and Italian cooking at Cook Street School of Fine Cooking” and “went to Air Academy High School,” He wrote that he lived in Denver, Colorado, and was from Alexandria, Virginia. His Facebook posts provide a glimpse into his personality.
His top visible post was a graphic criticizing the FBI. On June 20, he wrote, “People are so eager to tell the world about their lives on social media that sooner or later the FBI will just be like ‘take this quick survey to find out how much money you’ve made selling drugs compared to the infamous Pablo Escobar!!’ or ‘who is literally smoking crack in their living room right now?? Comment below!!” and their fish will catch themselves.'”
That same day, he added, “Seriously though… who on my friend’s list is already thinking of reporting my radicalism?” On June 12, he wrote, “‘The revolution will not be televised.’ If this is still a jingoistic cliché to you, you have no idea what’s going on.” On May 29, he wrote, “American culture, whatever that means, is slowly coming to an end. This is perhaps the clearest sign that we’re not gonna make it.”
On June 8, on a post about Kamala Harris, he wrote, “ORANGE BAD MAN GONE = EVERYTHING IS FINE NOW.” He also wrote posts criticizing President Joe Biden. He wrote, “Not every gun toting freedom lover is a good person. And not every bleeding heart communist is a bad person. Anyone can fall victim to the prejudice they rail against.”
He wrote, “Remember when Obama said he would end the war in Iraq, and you believed him and voted for him? Remember when Trump said he’d build the wall and lock her up and audit the fed and you believed him and voted for him? Remember when Biden incoherently mumbled some talking points he was given and you believed him and voted for him? Remember that sh**?'” In another post he wrote, “The line between bravery and stupidity is about as thin as a syringe needle.” In another post, he wrote, “So Maxine Waters wasn’t inciting violence? What a world!”
He added, “Is there any value in being proud of what you were born as? The person you became didn’t choose any of it. Does it have anything to do with who you are?” Someone responded, “You are a hero.”