Colorado police on Friday explained how a heroic bystander who had just shot and killed a cop-hating gunman was himself fatally struck by a responding officer.
Johnny Hurley, 40, was shopping in downtown Arvada, a Denver suburb, when he heard Ronald Troyke ambush and murder Officer Gordon Beesley, who was responding to a call Monday afternoon, officials said.
Troyke, 59, then returned to his truck to grab an AR-15, and was holding it when Hurley — who was carrying a concealed weapon — confronted him and shot him dead, Police Chief Link Strate said in a video clip posted Friday.
But when another officer responded to the scene, he saw Hurley holding the suspect’s rifle — and tragically mistook the good Samaritan for the cop killer, fatally shooting him, Strate said.
“Officer Beesley was responding to a call in the area of Olde Town Arvada, and within seconds he was brutally ambushed and murdered by someone who expressed hatred towards police officers,” Strate said.
“The threat to our officers and our community was stopped by a hero named Johnny Hurley,” Strate said. “Johnny’s actions can only be described as decisive, courageous and effective in stopping further loss of life.”
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.
Security footage released by police on Friday shows Troyke running after Beesley in a parking lot and shooting him, as two bystanders stand near by.
The suspect is then seen returning to his truck to get the AR-15 and walking back towards the street.
The footage ends before Hurley confronts the suspect, and the shooting deaths of Troyke and Hurley are not shown.
“Finally, it is clear that the suspect bears responsibility for this tragic sequence of events,” the Arvada Police Department said in a statement.
Police released excerpts from a document penned by Troyke where he pledged to kill as many officers as he could.
“We the people were never your enemy, but we are now,” and “hundreds of you pigs should be killed daily” the document partially read, according to cops.
“Today I will kill as many Arvada officers as I possibly can … I just hope I don’t die without killing any of you pigs”
Shortly before the deadly shootings, Troyke’s brother called police and told them he was going to “do something crazy.” Beesley and another cop went to Troyke’s house, but no one was home, police said.
A teen then called police to report that an older man approached him, made a weird noise and showed him a condom in the suburb’s downtown district.
Beesley was killed within moments of responding to that call, video showed.
Hurley — who was described by friends as a local political activist who fought against police brutality, as well as a chef and musician — was reportedly shopping at the Army Navy Surplus store when he heard gunshots and ran out to confront Troyke.
“He did not hesitate; he didn’t stand there and think about it. He totally heard the gunfire, went to the door, saw the shooter and immediately ran in that direction,” store employee Bill Troyanos told Denver news station KMGH-TV.
Hurley’s family released a statement Friday, remembering their loved one and asking for privacy, the station said.
“Our beloved son and brother Johnny is no more. We loved him dearly. May he rest in peace. Before Johnny engaged in a clear-eyed response to a dire situation, he was already a wonderful human being with a great enthusiasm for life.”
With Post wires