ARVADA, Colo. — The water tower in Olde Town Arvada will light up in orange and green Tuesday evening in remembrance of Arvada Ofc. Gordon Beesley and Good Samaritan Johnny Hurley, who were both killed in a shooting in Old Towne one year ago.
The City of Arvada said orange and green were the men's favorite colors.
On Tuesday, Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said the events of June 21, 2021 will forever be etched in the memory of Arvada residents.
"The Arvada community lost two great men last year: Officer Gordon Beesley and Johnny Hurley," Williams said. "We continue to mourn and extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. They will be remembered forever by the community they brought together. I encourage everyone to take a moment in the coming days to look for the good around you and be kind to one another."
One year ago today, officers with the Arvada Police Department responded to a call near the Arvada Library in Olde Town. About 15 minutes later, the department received multiple 911 calls about shots fired in the area and an officer who had been hit.
The shooter opened fire at Beesley, a 19-year veteran with the department who had responded to the call. Police later found a document from the suspect that allegedly contained phrases such as, “My goal today is to kill Arvada PD officers," “Hundreds of you pigs should be killed daily,” and “Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can."
Beesley was shot twice and died of his injuries.
The suspect then ran back to his car, where he retrieved an AR-15, and headed back to the Olde Town Square, police said.
At the same time, surveillance footage from a store in Olde Town showed Hurley, 40, of Golden, react to hearing gunfire, run out of the store, and grab a handgun from his right side. Other surveillance footage showed him with his gun drawn and crouching to take cover before firing twice at the suspect.
After shooting the suspect, Hurley picked up the AR-15 the man had been carrying. Less than a minute after he shot the suspect, Hurley was shot by an Arvada police officer, who believed Hurley was the suspect.
The day after the shooting, Arvada Police Chief Link Strate called Hurley a “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.” He added that “Gordon was a true gentleman and a kind soul. He always had a smile on his face and everyone felt better after having a conversation with Gordon. It is an inconceivable loss for his family.”
First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King announced in November that the officer who shot Hurley would not face criminal charges. According to the decision letter, the officer mistakenly believed the only person he saw holding a gun at the scene — Hurley — was the suspected shooter.
“The officer here had objectively reasonable grounds to believe, and did believe, he and other people were in imminent danger of being killed that day,” King said in a news conference. “The officer saw a mass shooter, heard many rounds of gunfire in broad daylight in the heart of Olde Town Arvada. … Thus, the decision to shoot John Hurley was legally justified despite his heroic actions that day.”
A memorial for Beesley was placed in front of the Arvada Police Department entrance at Ammons Street and 59th Avenue. A John Hurley Foundation was also created in Hurley's memory.