By Conor McCue

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) — Sunday is the first night of Hanukkah and people gathered in Olde Town Arvada to light the first candle on a nine-foot Menorah.

(credit: CBS)

It was all in honor of good Samaritan Johnny Hurley and Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beasley. Both died in June after a gunman shot and killed Beasley, Hurley killed the gunman, and a second officer shot Hurley.

The hope for the lighting in Olde Town Square was to replace darkness with light at the site of the shootings.

“It really only takes one light to really spread an infinite amount of energy and positivity,” said Rabbi Mendel Brackman.

As the community gathered to celebrate the holiday Sunday, Steven Cohen, owner of the nearby Army Navy Surplus store took time to reflect. He recalled hearing gunshots and then seeing Hurley, a frequent customer, spring into action. 

“Without hesitation he ran straight across the street and eliminated the assailant,” Cohen said. 

While addressing the crowd, Cohen said he was thankful of Hurley’s actions and will think of him during many holidays moving forward.

“I‘m so thankful for what he did and the lives he saved and now we’re able to celebrate this Hanukkah and the holiday season,” Cohen said. 

During the event, Hurley’s sister joined Cohen in lighting the menorah in town square. While neither Hurley nor Beesley were Jewish, Rabbi Brackman said the two men exemplified what the light on the candles represent.

“They showed what it means to be someone who can really transform darkness into light,” Brackman said. “Someone who can step up and really make an impact on those people around them.”

Following the menorah lighting, Brent Kaufman, a longtime friend of Hurley, performed a song he wrote titled, “Johnny Was a Good Man.” Sharing the song is one of many ways he hopes to continue highlighting the love and light shown by his friend on that dark day in June.  

“From such a tragedy it’s our job to make sure that miracles come from it and that we learn from this tragedy to prevent it from happening again,” Kaufman. 

The police chief and several other local leaders were also in attendance Sunday. 


Conor McCue