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Family, friends gather for vigil to honor Johnny Hurley

There's a growing memorial for Hurley in Olde Town Arvada. People who knew him or people who call Arvada home have dropped off flowers and notes.

ARVADA, Colo. — On Saturday, family and friends of Johnny Hurley gathered in Olde Town Arvada for a candlelight vigil to remember the man Arvada police have called a hero who saved lives by killing the man who ambushed Officer Gordon Beesley.

The square where Hurley had his final moments was partly covered with messages in chalk. There was also a growing memorial for Hurley. Throughout the week, people who knew him and people who call Arvada home have dropped off flowers and notes.

The vigil started at 7 p.m. and lasted for about two hours. Hurley’s closest friends took turns on the mic to share stories about him.

“In that moment, he just springs up without question and he is just the hero,” said one of his friends.

Some of Hurley’s family attended the vigil. Dozens of others came to honor Hurley’s bravery that day.

“The fact that he is so close to listening to the bullets and being someone who is brave enough to come and take a stand is incredible,” said Javier Pena, an Arvada resident.

Pena and his wife moved to Arvada a few months ago. They didn't know Hurley, and that didn’t matter.

“Looking at him and realizing he is a hero, you know, that is what he is,” Pena said.

Strangers stood next to the ones who knew him best. Together, they were a community connected by grief.

RELATED: 'True gentleman and a kind soul': Vigil Tuesday night honors Arvada officer killed in ambush shooting

“He would have wanted everyone to know each other and be brave and be inspired,” said a friend.

The Arvada Police Department (APD) confirmed in a release Friday reports that Hurley shot the suspect with a handgun. According to APD, a responding Arvada Police officer then encountered Hurley, who was holding the suspect’s AR-15, and shot him.

RELATED: Arvada police release timeline, surveillance video from Olde Town shooting

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