Who is Kirstin Stillwell? Cop Eric Talley killed in Boulder shooting wanted to be pilot, sister says 'fly high'

'My heart is broken,' Kirstin Stillwell tweeted as she shared a photo of the two as kids

                            Who is Kirstin Stillwell? Cop Eric Talley killed in Boulder shooting wanted to be pilot, sister says 'fly high'
Sister of fallen officer Eric Talley (R) shares childhood photo (L) in tribute (Twitter/Boulder Police Department)

The brave police officer who sacrificed his life responding to a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket is being showered with praise for his heroic actions that possibly saved the lives of several shoppers and staff. Tributes poured in from city leaders and law enforcement officials alike, and now his sister has shared her tribute for him. 

“My heart is broken," Kirstin Stillwell tweeted as she shared a photo of the two as kids. "I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many. Fly high, my sweet brother. You always wanted to be a pilot (damn color blindness). Soar.”



Boulder Store shooting: Who was Eric Talley? 'Heroic' Colorado cop, 51, 'ran toward danger to save lives'

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Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold noted how Talley was the first officer to arrive at the King Soopers store on Monday afternoon after reports of a "possible person with a patrol rifle."

He was killed as police engaged in a shootout with the suspect inside the supermarket. The terrorist -- identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa -- also claimed the lives of nine others in the rampage that sent customers and staff bolting toward the exit or scrambling for safety. Authorities said the deceased ranged in age from 20 to 65 years. Alissa was being treated at a hospital in stable condition on Tuesday and was expected to be booked into Boulder County Jail on murder charges later in the day.

In this handout photo provided by the Boulder, Colorado Police Department, Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa poses for his booking photo on March 23, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado. (Getty Images)

Officer Talley was also lauded by President Joe Biden, who called him the "definition of an American hero."

"When he pinned on that badge, he did not know what the day would bring…But when the moment to act came, officer Talley did not hesitate in his duty, making the ultimate sacrifice in his effort to save lives," Biden said Tuesday. "That's the definition of an American hero."

According to the Daily Beast, Talley, 51, had served with the Boulder Police Department since 2010 and played several important roles in the department, including teaching fellow officers CPR.

Chief Herold remembered she had recently hosted Talley and his family in her office to honor one of his sons with an award. "One of his sons swallowed a quarter, and because Officer Talley taught his children CPR, one of his sons was able to save the little boy's life," Herold said.

Maris Herold, the Boulder Chief of Police attends a press conference the morning after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery store on March 23, 2021, in Boulder, Colorado. (Getty Images)

Talley was a father to seven children. Speaking to NBC News, his father Homer Talley said his son was working to become a drone operator so he could pull away from the front line and not "put his family through something like this." The devastated father added: "He loved his kids and his family more than anything."

The brave officer's body was escorted from the shooting scene by a long convoy of emergency and police vehicles with their lights flashing. Fellow first responders stood along the route, with their arms raised in salute to honor his sacrifice, while residents of the community watched on. 

According to a database compiled by The Associated Press, USA Today, and Northeastern University, the Boulder attack was the seventh mass killing this year in the US, coming just days after the March 16 shootout that left eight people dead at three spa businesses in Atlanta, Georgia.

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