ARVADA, Colo. — On Tuesday evening, many eyes welled with tears inside Peace Lutheran Church in Arvada during a prayer vigil to honor fallen Officer Gordon Beesley.
Close friends, colleagues and students were among the crowd that gathered, but there were also those who didn't know Beesley at all who wanted to show respect.
"My first thoughts were for his family," said Stuart Wright, a former colleague of Beesley's. "I met him in 1993 or 1994, we worked in the same small company in Boulder. He made every work day so joyous. We were like brothers, and I've known him ever since. My relationship just grew deeper and deeper with him over time."
Others echoed the same sentiments; Beesley found joy throughout his entire career up until his very last day on the job. Most recently, he was a beloved school resource officer at Oberon Middle School.
During the prayer vigil, colleagues spoke about Beesley's humor and love for his students. He's also known for his time spent bike riding alongside a young boy with developmental challenges each week.
"He changed his life to become a cop and to go into service, and none of us saw it coming," Wright said. "And it was such a perfect fit, and when I knew he got the SRO job at the middle school, I just thought how symmetrical, perfect is that."
He said he hoped others would remember his friend for service, dedication and love for others.
"He was my hero in a lot of ways," Wright said through tears.