The shooting at a crowded Colorado supermarket on Monday killed 10 people, including the first police officer to arrive: Eric Talley, a 51-year-old father of seven whose own father said he had been looking for a less dangerous job.
A suspect was in custody, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told reporters through tears. The identities of the other nine victims were not immediately released, as the police were still notifying family members.
Herold identified Talley, who said he had been with Boulder police since 2010. He was the first to arrive on the scene after responding to a call about shooting and someone carrying a rifle, he said.
“By all accounts, he was one of the most prominent officers in the Boulder Police Department, and his life was too short,” said Dougherty.
“He was looking for a job to stay out of the front lines and he was learning to be a drone operator,” Talley’s father, Homer Talley, said in a statement. “He didn’t want his family to go through something like this.
“He had seven children. The youngest is seven years old. He loved his children and his family more than anything. “
A man named Jeremy Herko described Talley as one of his best friends.
“He was a devout Christian, he had to buy a 15 passenger van to transport all his children and he was the kindest guy in the world,” Herko wrote in a Facebook post.
Talley appeared in a 2013 article as one of three police officers who helped save ducks trapped in a drainage ditch. He jumped into calf-deep water to rescue the ducks from the pipes, according to the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper article.
Talley is the sixth on-duty death in Boulder police history and the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1994, the Daily Camera reported.
“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department and his life was too short,” said Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County District Attorney.
Dozens of police and emergency vehicles, with their lights on, escorted an ambulance that was taking the officer out of the scene after dark. Some residents stood along the road, arms raised in greeting.
Boulder police tweeted a photo of Talley in uniform.
“Rest in peace, Officer Eric Talley,” the department said. “Your service will never be forgotten.”
The shooting occurred about two miles from the University of Colorado’s flagship campus in the Table Mesa area, home to a residential neighborhood and the hilltop laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
It was the second mass shooting in the United States in a week, after one last week that left eight people dead in the Atlanta area. A 21-year-old man was charged with those murders.
Boulder authorities did not immediately identify the suspect. Dougherty said the suspect was the only person injured.
“This is a tragedy and a nightmare for Boulder County,” he said. “It was about people who went about their day, shopping. I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado that we will ensure justice. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism