(FiveNation.com)- In what appears to have been an ambush attack, a police officer and a bystander were shot and killed Monday afternoon in the Old Towne District of Arvada, Colorado, a popular shopping and entertainment destination outside of Denver.
The suspect was also killed.
According to Arvada Police Chief Link Strate, officer Gordon Beesley was targeted in a “deliberate act of violence” by someone “who expressed hatred of police officers.
Jefferson County coroner Annette Cannon identified the suspect as 59-year-old Ronald Troyke.
Chief Strate did not explain what started Monday’s shootout near a library in historic downtown Arvada, which also killed 40-year-old John Hurley whom authorities described as a “Samaritan.”
Strate called Hurley a “true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life.”
Arvada police have not identified who shot the suspect, however department spokesman Dave Snelling said that suspect’s shooting will be investigated by a team of area law enforcement officers.
Beesley, a school resource officer, had a reputation for taking a compassionate approach with students. With the students now on summer break, Beesley was working on patrol when he was hit by gunfire shortly after a report of a suspicious incident near the library.
Prior to working as a school resource officer, Beesley, a 19-year veteran of the Arvada Police Department worked both as a patrol officer and a motorcycle traffic officer.
According to school counselor David Ruppert, students “gravitated” toward Beesley, seeing him as someone they could go to if they needed help. And Beesley always helped them.
In 2015, after learning that a seventh grader with learning disabilities wanted to be able to ride his bike to school, but his mother wouldn’t let him ride alone, Beesley began biking to school alongside the boy every day.
After Beesley’s death on Monday, about 100 people, holding American flags and pro-police flags, gathered as a procession of police cars and motorcycles escorted the hearse carrying Beesley’s body to the coroner’s office.