DENVER — The father of slain Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley said if there's one thing his son was known for, it was doing the right thing.
Talley died Monday after charging into Boulder's Table Mesa King Soopers to confront a gunman.
"He was very brave. He was always brave," Shay Talley said.
The Texas resident said he and his wife were watching the news Monday when they heard about a shooting in Boulder.
"We looked at each other and said, 'Hope Eric's not involved,'" he said.
A few minutes later, they received a phone call.
Unable to get to his phone in time, Shay returned the call.
"My 16-year-old granddaughter answered," he said. "I asked, what's going on and she said, 'Dad is dead.' I said, 'What?' She said it again."
Shay said he walked out the front door and down the driveway and just screamed at God asking why He let it happen.
Then the question, "Are you still a follower of me?" popped into his head, he said. "I just fell on my knees and said, 'Yes God, my Lord.'"
Shay said at that point, he was free and didn't feel any anger towards the suspect.
"I didn't even think about the guy who shot him," he said.
For nearly a week now, Shay has been thinking about past conversations with Eric, who became a police officer when he was 40.
He remembers when Eric told him he wanted to join the force.
"I said, 'Eric, you're 40 years old,' and he said 'I know, but if I can pass the academy, I can get in,'" Shay said. "I said, 'You think you can do that?' He said, 'Well, I don't know, I'm going to try it.'"
After learning that Eric had rushed into the King Soopers to confront the gunman, one other prior conversation stands out.
"He said, 'I'm trained to wait for backup, but Papa, I don't think I could do that. I don't think I could stand around and wait for someone else to get there... when people need help,'" Shay recalls his son saying..
"He was unselfish," Shay said. "That's the kind of person Eric was."
The Texas resident said Eric was also a man of integrity and faith.
"One time he told me, 'I saw this vision one time,' and I said, 'What do you mean?' And he said, 'I was standing in line at the grocery store,' of all places. He said, 'I saw this vision and I believe it was God. It just scared me to death,'" Shay said. .
He said since that day, Eric had always had a close relationship with Christ.
When asked about Eric's children, Shay said he worries.
"They're going to be OK this week. They've got all the attention and... that's good," he said. "What I'm worried about is next week, and the week after that, and the month after that, because there's going to be a hole in their heart, just like there's a hole in my heart, and that is never going to go away."
Eric's father said he is overwhelmed by the generosity and outpouring of support from the Boulder Police Department, and other law enforcement organizations.
"We are grateful for what they have done," he said.
He said by running into the supermarket, Eric did the right thing.
"I hope he can inspire other officers, other people — inspire them to do the right thing," he said.
Shay said he talked on the phone with Eric upwards of three times a week.
"I'm going to miss those conversations," he said. "But I know where he is, and I know that I'll see him again some day."