Who was Johnny Hurley? 'Hero' who shot gunman killed by cop as he held suspect's AR-15
DENVER, COLORADO: A heroic bystander who had just shot and killed a police-hating gunman was himself fatally struck by a responding officer, Colorado police explained on Friday, June 25.
Officials said 40-year-old Johnny Hurley was shopping in downtown Arvada, a Denver suburb, when he saw Ronald Troyke ambush and murder officer Gordon Beesley with a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun. Beesley was reportedly responding to a call on Monday afternoon. Troyke, 59, subsequently returned to his truck to grab an AR-15 and was holding it when Hurley confronted him and fatally struck him with his handgun. However, another officer who responded to the scene saw Hurley holding the suspect's rifle and mistook him for the cop killer, fatally shooting him.
“Officer Beesley was responding to a call in the area of Olde Town Arvada, and within seconds he was brutally ambushed and murdered by someone who expressed hatred towards police officers,” Police Chief Link Strate said in a video clip posted on Friday, June 25. “The threat to our officers and our community was stopped by a hero named Johnny Hurley,” he continued. “Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life.”
The cop who shot Hurley was not identified but was reportedly placed on administrative leave while independent law enforcement agencies investigate whether he should be charged with a crime.
In a security footage released by the police on June 25, Troyke was seen chasing Beesley in a parking lot and shooting him in the presence of two bystanders. The suspect then returned to his truck to retrieve an AR-15 and walked back towards the street. The surveillance clip ended before Hurley confronted the suspect. The shooting deaths of Troyke and Hurley are not shown in the footage. “Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears responsibility for this tragic sequence of events,” the Arvada Police Department said in a statement.
Troyke had reportedly pledged to kill as many officers as he could, as per excerpts from a document penned by him. “We the people were never your enemy, but we are now,” and “hundreds of you pigs should be killed daily” the document read in part, police said. “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."
Troyke's brother had reportedly called police shortly before the shootings and warned them that he was going to "do something crazy". Beesley and another cop responded to Troyke's residence but realized no one was home. A teenager subsequently called police to inform that an older man had "approached him, made a weird noise and showed him a condom" in the suburb's downtown district, per New York Post. Beesley was reportedly killed within moments of responding to that call, as per the time stamp on the footage.
Who was Johnny Hurley?
Hurley was described by friends as a local political activist who, in fact, fought against police brutality. He was also remembered as a chef and musician and was reportedly shopping at the Army Navy Surplus store when he heard gunshots and ran out to confront Troyke. “He did not hesitate; he didn’t stand there and think about it. He totally heard the gunfire, went to the door, saw the shooter and immediately ran in that direction,” Bill Troyanos, who works at the store, told Denver news station KMGH-TV.
The station published an emotional statement released by the Hurley family on June 25. “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," they said.