Arvada, CO — In June, a deranged gunman, 59-year-old Ronald Troyke, began what was about to be a deadly mass shooting. His first victim would be Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley. The second victim would be a hero and local activist Johnny Hurley. Hurley would not die at the hands of Troyke. Instead, Hurley would stop Troyke only to be gunned down moments later by a responding Arvada cop.
This month, the coroner’s report determined Hurley was shot and killed by a responding officer. His death was ruled a homicide. According to police, the officer who killed Johnny, allegedly saw him moving the attacker’s gun and thought he was the gunman who had killed Beesley.
It has been three months since Hurley's death and other than police admitting they were the ones who killed him, no other information has come out. There were surveillance cameras which captured Troyke shoot officer Gordon Beesley and which filmed the interaction between Hurley and Troyke, and the officer who showed up and killed him. However, none of this video has been released.
This week, activists held a protest outside the District Attorney's Office in Jefferson County and demanded the release of that video.
“This seems like an issue that shouldn’t be so difficult. We should have transparency. There’s obviously a video that exists of the officer that shot Johnny Hurley. We’ve seen the beginning of the video and I want to see the rest,” one of the protesters, Adara Scarlet told KDVR.
The refusal of police to release the video only fuels suspicion that maybe the story didn't unfold like police are claiming. Maybe, according to the group "Friends of Johnny," he never picked up Troke's gun that day.
“We saw the brutal murder Officer Gordon Beesley and it was tragic but we didn’t see the heroics of Johnny Hurley and the mistake with the police officer shooting our friend and so we need to see the video to see if he really picked up the AR-15 or not,” said “Friends of Johnny” member Bruce Baumann.
The group is hoping to meet with police to have them implement training to prevent such horrible mistakes in the future.
“Police reform is necessary in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again so we can assess and identify the dangerous protocols that are right now keeping our streets unsafe and killing our heroes in the name of defending the town,” said Brent Kaufman.
As we reported at the time, to those who witnessed the shooting, Hurley was hailed as a hero. He had stopped the deadly threat and saved many lives in the process. But his time as a living hero was only brief. Moments after saving countless lives, Hurley would be killed by police.
Police claim, though offered up no evidence to back it up, that Hurley had picked up Troyke's AR-15 and an officer or officers opened fire on him, mistaking him for the shooter.
“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,” witness Bill Troyanos said. “I just want to make sure his family knows how heroic he was.”
“He turned back and looked towards everybody at the restaurant and told us that he (Troyke) is coming, that he is coming back and that we should get inside,” another witness who asked not to be identified said. “I ran to the back of the store, closer to the alley, kind of 'nooked' myself in a corner just to feel safe.”
“Mr. Hurley shot him. I think I heard 6 shots from his gun, maybe 5,” Troyanos said.
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These are the only details police have acknowledged yet they refuse to release anymore.
After released a heavily redacted version of the video which omits the aforementioned details, the only other information to come from the Arvada Police Department was the following statement, noting that no more transparency will come from them:
"Further video or statements related to the officer involved shooting will not be released at this time. Any further release will be determined by the Jefferson County District Attorney's Office at the conclusion of the CIRT investigation."
Below is the video. It stops after Troyke shoots officer Beesley and returns to his truck to grab his AR-15. It was everything that happens after this point that police are choosing to keep from the public's eye, including Hurley's own family.
According to multiple witnesses, when Troyke began shooting, Hurley did not hesitate and ran straight into danger, eliminating the threat and saving countless lives. These details are all the public has been given which is why Editor-in-Chief of News2Share, Ford Fischer travelled to Arvada recently and attempted to fill in the gaps of what police and media are leaving out.
"While it’s certainly welcome that the police and media in Colorado haven’t swayed from their position that Johnny Hurley was a hero, the news reports have mostly just echoed law enforcement police reports without diving deeply into the details of what happened or breaking down what he actually believed," Fischer told TFTP.
In Fischer's documentary, he points out details that police left out, like a portion of the footage that appears to show Hurley run toward the shooter and take cover behind a wall. Unfortunately, however, because they will not release the rest of the footage, Fischer and the folks he interviews in the documentary are forced to fill in the blanks with what little evidence they have.
Fischer does a fantastic job at not only filling in many of the gaps but also telling the story of John Hurley that the media refuses to tell.
"During my trip to Arvada, I aimed to make a piece that on the one hand addresses some of the community’s concerns about police transparency, while more-so focusing on the biggest thing the media has been lacking: other than his final act of heroism, who was Johnny Hurley?" Fischer said, and his mini-documentary below does just that.
Hurley's Facebook profile continues to be filled with statements from friends showing just how big of a light he shined in this world. His death is a true tragedy and has left a void in the activism community.
There was a GoFundMe set up in his name to help pay for expenses and showing just how much people respect and miss him, it has raised over $90,000. You can donate to it here.
Johnny Hurley was an outspoken activist for freedom and peace and he spent the last decade or more of his life seeking those goals for the world. His dedication to the preservation of life was so strong that it actually cost him his own life.
Rest in Peace, Johnny Hurley. We will not stop until we have all the answers.