ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) — As investigators piece together what happened in Monday’s shooting in Olde Town Arvada, John Hurley of Golden is being remembered as a hero for stopping gunman Ronald Troyke.

John Hurley

It’s still not clear, whose shots killed Troyke, or Hurley. Autopsy reports are not yet complete. Investigators said they can find no previous connection between the two.

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Troyke ambushed and killed Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley.

Hurley was apparently shopping at the Army Navy Surplus store, as he frequently did.

(credit: CBS)

“John pulled into our parking lot around 1:30 and was contemplatively smoking a cigarette near his car,” wrote store owner Steven Cohen. “Within under a minute upon John entering the store, 10-15 shots of what sounded like a rifle or tactical shotgun were fired in the square 50 yards away.”

(credit: CBS)

Codi Groszkiewicz, a waitress Schoolhouse Kitchen and Libations, watched out a kitchen window, saw Hurley, in a bright orange shirt, bolt out of the surplus store.
“And he was running straight towards where we heard those shots.  Everyone else was running in the other direction,” Groszkiewicz said. “I just know that he was going out there into the middle of all the danger that I ever could have imagined in my life.”

John Hurley

“John and another unknown customer unrelated to John went out of the open door toward the square with clear intent to eliminate the threat,” wrote Cohen. “While the unknown customer turned left to assess the situation without pulling out a weapon, John ran quickly without hesitation straight toward the shooter.”

“John shouted at onlookers behind him to stay inside and hide because the gunman was coming back,” wrote Cohen. “John used this as an opportunity to run towards the library where the shooter was and hid behind a brick wall. Upon the shooter walking again back toward the square, John pulled out his concealed pistol and shot 5-6 rounds toward the suspect,” Cohen wrote.

Keeping the shooter at bay for any amount of time may have had an effect.

“That’s why he was more secured in an area where he couldn’t get away to do anything else because of where he was cornered, he was trapped,” said Groszkiewicz.

“There was no other police officers around at the time. There was no one else there to prevent this from happening. And this man ran,” she related.

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As she watched from the window in the restaurant, she also realized they needed to get customers to safety.

“My first instinct was to try to get everybody that I could into the basement.”

They locked the doors. When they emerged, she saw first responders putting someone on a stretcher and taking them away.

Only later in the day did she learn the good Samaritan was dead.

Speaking about it was difficult for Codi.

“I wanted to do this because I wanted people to know what he did especially… his sister or anyone of his family members that it was the bravest, most selfless thing that I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”

John “Johnny” Hurley (credit: Hurley family)

Cohen also wants it made clear what he saw from a man he knew as a regular customer was heroic.

“We want to thank and recognize John as we believe that his actions saved more lives from being taken. He needs to be recognized by Arvada and all the citizens of Colorado for his brave and selfless actions.”

Groszkiewicz feels a bond with Hurley.

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“He will forever be in my heart for what he did because, like I said, we don’t know what would have happened to any of us… He risked everything that he possibly could to go out there and for us and it’s the most selfless, bravest thing I’ve ever witnessed.”

Alan Gionet