An Arvada police officer will not face criminal charges for mistakenly shooting and killing a “good Samaritan” who stopped an active shooter in Olde Town Arvada this summer, prosecutors announced Monday.
First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King at a news conference announced her decision to not charge the officer nearly five months after the officer shot and killed 40-year-old Johnny Hurley.
“The officer here had objectively reasonable grounds to believe, and did believe, he and others were in imminent danger of being killed that day,” King said. “Thus, the officer’s decision to shoot John Hurley was legally justified despite his heroic actions that day.”
King added that Hurley will remembered for his selflessness.
Hurley rushed out of the Arvada Army Navy Surplus store on the afternoon of June 21 and confronted the active shooter, who minutes earlier had killed a police officer and fired multiple rounds in the Denver suburb’s busy restaurant and shopping district.
Hurley, who legally carried a concealed handgun, shot and killed the active shooter after hearing gunfire. Hurley picked up the active shooter’s AR-15 after killing him, according to his autopsy report. A responding Arvada police officer then shot and killed Hurley, mistakenly believing him to be the suspect who ambushed and killed Arvada police Officer Gordon Beesley.
Doctors at Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge declared Hurley dead shortly after he arrived at the hospital, according to the autopsy report. Hurley died of a single gunshot to the pelvis, according to his autopsy. The bullet entered his buttock from behind and did not exit his body.
Hurley’s mother, Kathleen Boleyn, said in a statement through her attorney Monday that she “imagine(s) that many people are angry and that is understandable. I would ask that instead of acting out on your anger, that you use that energy to be the change you wish to see in the world.”
She asked for people to engage in “meaningful conservations that might make a difference” and to “consider using Johnny’s commitment to doing the right thing even at the greatest cost to inspire your own actions.”
The multi-agency Jefferson County Critical Incident Response Team investigated the shooting and presented its findings to the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office on Sept. 9. Police and prosecutors released few details about Hurley’s death prior to the announcement Monday, citing the ongoing investigation.
Colorado district attorneys are required by state law to publicly issue letters explaining their decision when they decline to prosecute law enforcement officers for fatal on-duty shootings. The letters outline the facts of the incident and the prosecutor’s legal analysis.
Arvada police previously released video showing the moments leading up to Beesley’s death but, prior to Monday, had not released video or other information about Hurley’s killing, citing the ongoing investigation into the officer’s actions.
Arvada police previously said Hurley was a hero and that he prevented further bloodshed.
The active shooter, 59-year-old Ronald Troyke, left a note in his Arvada apartment indicating that he wanted to kill police officers, Arvada police previously said. Surveillance video released by the Arvada Police Department showed Troyke run after Beesley and shoot him with a shotgun in the downtown area. Video then showed Troyke return to his truck and swap the shotgun for a rifle before walking toward the main square, where Hurley later shot him.
King is the second district attorney in recent years to find a police officer legally justified in shooting someone acting in self-defense. Adams County prosecutors in 2018 declined to charge an Aurora police officer who shot and killed a 73-year-old homeowner defending his home against a violent intruder.
Denver Post reporter Sam Tabachnik contributed to this report.
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