(AP) — Police
hailed Johnny Hurley as a hero after he shot and killed a gunman who they say killed one officer and expressed hatred for cops in a Denver suburb.
When another officer arrived to respond and saw Hurley holding the suspect's AR-15, he shot and killed him, according to police.
The disclosure helped to clarify what happened on Monday, when three people
were killed in a string of shootings
in Arvada's historic downtown district, an area with popular shops, restaurants
, breweries, and other businesses about 7 miles (10 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver. Hurley, Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley, and the suspected gunman, Ronald Troyke, were killed.
According to a police timeline and video, Troyke, 59, ambushed Beesley after parking his truck
near Beesley's patrol car while Beesley was responding to a report of a suspicious person.
According to police, the video shows Troyke running down an alley toward Beesley, and when he turns around, Troyke raises his gun and fires at him while two people stand nearby. Beesley falls to the ground in the video.
According to the video, which appears to be from a surveillance camera, and a police narration of it, Troyke grabs an AR-15 rifle from his truck and is carrying it when Hurley confronts him and shoots him with a handgun; when another officer arrives, Hurley is holding Troyke's AR-15, and the officer opens fire, according to police.
The video does not show Hurley's shooting of Troyke or the officer's shooting of Hurley.
Police had not previously confirmed Hurley's role or identified the officer who shot him. In the video released on Friday, Police Chief Link Strate described Hurley as a hero whose actions likely saved lives. He did not apologize, but called Hurley's death
by a responding officer "equally tragic" to Beesley's death.
“A hero named Johnny Hurley stopped the threat to our officers and our community,” Strate said, adding that “Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous, and effective in preventing further loss of life.”
“Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears
responsibility for this tragic sequence of events,” the Arvada Police Department said in a separate statement.
The shooting of Hurley by the unnamed officer is being investigated by a team of other area law
enforcement officers led by the district attorney
's office, and the findings will be used to determine whether the officer was justified in using deadly force or whether the officer should face criminal charges.
The officer in question has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation
Police say Beesley was targeted because he was an Arvada police officer, and the department on Friday released excerpts from a document written by Troyke in which he stated his intention to kill as many Arvada police officers as possible, seeing his actions as a way to hold police accountable.
“We, the people, were never your enemies, but we are now,” it stated.
About 40 minutes before the shootings, Troyke's brother called police and asked them to check on him because he thought his brother was going to "do something crazy." Beesley and another officer attempted to locate Troyke at his home near downtown but were unable to do so, according to police.
A teenager then called police to report a suspicious person — an older man who approached, made a strange noise, and showed him a condom — and it was to that call that Beesley was responding when he was shot and killed.
issued a statement late Friday, thanking the city and police for their support and awaiting the results of the third-party investigation into the shooting that killed the 40-year-old.
Hurley was shopping
in the area on Monday when he heard gunshots and ran out to confront the shooter with his own gun, according to a witness
“He didn’t hesitate; he didn’t stand there and think about it; he totally heard the gunfire, went to the door, saw the shooter, and ran in that direction,” Bill Troyanos, who works at the Army Navy Surplus store in downtown Arvada, told Denver news
Hurley fired five or six shots, according to Troyanos, and the gunman collapsed against a parked vehicle.