From Hero to Corpse: Did Police Blow Away Heroic Citizen?

A shocking story coming out of Colorado as police reportedly shot a heroic citizen who stopped a cop-killing madman. From what we know so far, the well-meaning citizen intervened when an (alleged) gun-wielding madman opened fire on a police officer only to be shot and killed by an officer who mistook him for the assailant. According to USA Today:

A man who intervened in a shooting that killed a police officer near Denver was shot and killed by a responding officer while holding the suspect’s AR-15, police said Friday.

Johnny Hurley, who has been described by police as a hero who prevented further bloodshed, shot suspect Ronald Troyke on Monday after Troyke gunned down Arvada Officer Gordon Beesley with a 12-gauge semi-automatic shotgun. 

Mr. Hurley moved into action according to the USA Today story:

After shooting Beesley twice, Troyke shot out the windows of police cars in the city’s downtown district, returned to his truck to get an AR-15 and was confronted by Hurley, who shot him with a handgun. When an officer arrived, Hurley was holding Troyke’s AR-15 and the officer opened fire, police said. 

Police officials are trying to ascertain why things went so terribly wrong. The New York Post reports:

The unnamed cop who gunned down Hurley was placed on administrative leave as independent law enforcement agencies investigate whether he should be charged with a crime.

A related story by USA Today noted efforts to help the slain citizen’s family:

A verified GoFundMe account set up by Brian Romero, a friend of Hurley, for his family had raised about $10,000 by Wednesday afternoon. Romero says Hurley lived and worked in Colorado most of his life and left behind “a grieving family” that includes his parents and sister, Erin.

“Johnny lived simply and had meager possessions,” the GoFundMe says. “He loved the outdoors, had a passion for food and cooking, and loved spending time with family.”

It’s too early to tell exactly what happened but this story suggests the question of the police’s use of lethal force is only going to get more complicated as people ask how an apparent hero was so quickly dispatched.

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