The shooting that left three people dead in Arvada, Colorado, on Monday appears to have been a deliberate attack on a police officer, Police Chief Link Strate told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Gordon Beesley, a 19-year veteran of the Arvada Police Department, and a bystander identified Tuesday as John Hurley, 40, of Golden, were fatally shot, along with the unnamed suspect, according to Strate.
“I can tell you that Gordon was targeted because he was wearing an Arvada police uniform and a badge,” Strate said. “Officer Beesley was ambushed by a person who expressed hatred of police officers.”
Strate hailed Hurley as “a true hero,” and said that he likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life. Arvada is in metro Denver.
“He came into the Olde Town area in the middle of shooting and prevented any further injury,” Strate said of Hurley. The chief added that while they are in the early stages of their investigation, they have not determined any prior connection between Hurley and the suspect.
“While this was a deliberate act of violence, we still believe this is an isolated incident and our community is safe,” Strate said.
Beesley joined the Arvada Police Department in 2002 and worked as a patrol officer, a motorcycle officer and most recently as a school resource officer, a position he’d held in numerous schools since 2012, according to Strate. During the summer months, Arvada school resource officers work patrol, and the chief said Beesley volunteered to work in the Olde Town area where Monday’s fatal shooting took place.
“Gordon was a true gentleman and a kind soul,” Strate said. “He always had a smile on his face, and everyone felt better after having had a conversation with Gordon.”
The suspect was identified as Ronald Troyke, according to Melinda Rose with the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.
Troyke, 59, was shot and killed in the attack, Rose told CNN.
Troyke had one prior arrest for assault in 1992, according to a Colorado Bureau of Investigation report obtained by CNN affiliate KUSA.