ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Dozens of family members, friends, and community members gathered in Olde Town Arvada Saturday night to remember the life of Johnny Hurley. Police credit the 40-year-old man with stopping a gunman in Olde Town Arvada Monday.
According to Arvada Police, Hurley jumped into action and shot and killed the gunman who had just murdered officer Gordon Beesley. They say Hurley picked up the gunman’s rifle when he was killed by police.
Saturday’s event was described as a celebration of Hurley’s life. For nearly two hours, loved ones and community members shared their grief and gratitude near a memorial of flowers and signs.
“He didn’t hesitate at all,” said Josh Souter, a friend. “He went out there to try and help someone who he didn’t even know.”
The celebration of life started with a moment of silence for Hurley. Afterward, a speaker urged attendees to write messages in chalk on the pavement. Later, speakers shared stories, poems and musical tributes.
Friends described Hurley as a man passionate about defending his beliefs and personal freedoms as well as creating change. They said he also loved music, was a spoken word artist, and worked four different jobs.
One good friend called Hurley a “pollinator.”
“[He was] sharing the nectar of love and connection from flower to flower – that’s all of us,” the speaker said.
Hurley’s longtime best friend and companion also shared several memories from their 23 years together. She said she saw Hurley as a hero before he jumped into action Monday.
“You did the right thing, and it cost you and me dearly, but I’m so proud of you. I don’t know how I’ll adjust to life without you now,” said Taylor Garland.
Hurley’s family was in attendance and received a large round of applause from the crowd late into the event. His sister was the only family member to briefly address the crowd, saying she feels like she gained a lot of brothers and sisters.