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1 year later, Arvada police mourn the loss of two community 'heroes'

The Arvada community remembered police officer Gordon Beesley and good Samaritan Johnny Hurley, both killed in Olde Town Arvada shooting.

ARVADA, Colo. — One year later, it's clear that Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley has not been forgotten. Flowers and cards from community members, words of remembrance from his brothers and sisters in blue.

“He wasn't just a loving officer, he was a loving person,” said Det. Dave Snelling, a longtime friend and colleague of Beesley’s.

A 19-year veteran of the Arvada Police Department, Beesley spent his last few years in the department as a school resource officer, working patrol during the summer. He was, by all accounts, a kind, caring and compassionate cop, and, in 2015, was named the city of Arvada's employee of the year.

“I think in Gordon's case, the badge and the uniform had to take on Gordon's identity because he became such an amazing person and was never wrapped around the authoritative part of the job or anything like that. He hated writing tickets,” Snelling said.

On June 21 of last year, just after 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon, Officer Beesley was ambushed – shot and killed by a gunman in Olde Town Arvada. A bystander, 40-year-old Johnny Hurley, then shot and killed the gunman. But after picking up the gunman's assault rifle, Hurley was mistakenly shot to death by an Arvada police officer.

“We'll never forget Johnny's involvement in all of this and that amazing willingness to step forward for another person you don't know,” Snelling said. “Johnny to us is a hero and nothing will ever change that.”

At 1:37 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, the exact time that Hurley died, his friends and family held a moment of silence in his memory at Olde Town Arvada. Afterward, they recalled a young man who remained true to his values until the very end.

“People like to say that he was a hero, anybody who ever knew him, he always was a hero and always will be a hero, he always had that mentality about him,” said Douglas Evans, a friend of Hurley’s. “Just as the saying goes, crisis doesn't make heroes, it reveals heroes.”

Late last year, the Jefferson County district attorney declined to file charges against the Arvada police officer who shot Hurley, saying the officer had no way of knowing that Hurley was a good Samaritan.

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