A Denver-area policeman slain on June 21 was targeted because he was a police officer, according to area police.
Arvada Police Chief Link Strate told reporters on June 22 that Officer Gordon Beasley was “targeted because he was wearing an Arvada Police uniform and a badge.”
Beasley, who served the police department for 19 years, was “ambushed” in a shooting near a local library on June 21, Strate said. The suspected assailant was also slain in the shooting, alongside John Hurley, 40, whom the police described as a true hero.
“Officer Beasley was ambushed by a person who expressed hatred of police officers,” Strate said about the suspect.
The identity of the alleged killer will be released by a coroner later, Strate said.
“The death of Officer Gordon Beasley was a tragic loss to this community and to this department, but most importantly, it is an inconceivable loss to his family,” Strate said. “Communities need to know and understand what they ask of their police officers, the sacrifices that they make, the costs to them, for your safety.”
Strate noted that the shooting was a “deliberate act of violence” and an “isolated incident.”
Police didn’t say what Hurley did during the attack, but described him as a “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.”
Strate said the department was “hurt and troubled” by the murder, but that fellow officers were “committed to the protection of this community, our community that we all love, and to honor officer Beasley and Mr. Hurley.”
At the time of the press conference, police hadn’t yet determined the motive for the shooting. Police didn’t believe Hurley and the suspect were connected.
The fatal incident follows a mass shooting at a Boulder grocery store months earlier that killed 10 people, including a police officer.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said on June 21, “This is by far the saddest day for our police department.”
Deputy Chief Ed Brady stated during a June 21 press conference that the officer responded to a call at 1:15 p.m. that reported a “suspicious” incident near the library. About 15 minutes later, a 911 call reported that shots were fired, and the officer was hit and killed.
Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.