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Sunday, June 26, 2022

According to a federal lawsuit, “Good Samaritan” Johnny Hurley died because Arvada cops failed to confront the Old Town shooter.

Good Samaritan Johnny Hurley died in vain last year because neighboring Arvada cops failed to confront a shooter in Arvada Old Town, failed to verify that Hurley was a threat, and the officer failed to identify himself as a police officer before shooting Hurley from behind. according to a federal civil rights lawsuit filed Wednesday by Hurley’s mother.

Kathleen Boleyn sued Arvada police chief Link Strait and former officer Craig Brownlow on Wednesday, filing the lawsuit a year and a day after Brownlow shot and killed her son. The lawsuit says Hurley did not pose a threat to the police.

According to Boleyn, Hurley took over the work of the police when she was inactive. He paid for his heroism with his life.

“People thought for a year that this was just a sad tragedy, a mistake,” Boleyn said in an interview.

“And it wasn’t like that. It was the culmination of an active choice,” said her lawyer, Siddhartha Rathod. “Choice to hide, choice not to announce.”

Brownlow shot and killed Hurley on June 21, 2021 after Hurley used his concealed gun to kill a gunman who was shooting in Arvada’s busy Old Town commercial area. The shooter, Ronald Troik, wanted to kill the cops and ambushed Arvada police officer Gordon Beasley before shooting at parked police cars. Hurley was standing over Troik and holding Troik’s rifle when Brownlow killed him, believing Hurley to be a threat.

Police spokesman Dave Snelling said Tuesday that Arvada police internal affairs investigators found that Brownlow and two other officers in a nearby building were acting within rules and procedures. In November, prosecutors announced that Brownlow would not face criminal charges in Hurley’s murder. Straight and other city officials have repeatedly praised Hurley for his actions and said he likely saved lives.

Snelling disputed the claim that the three Arvada officers were inactive after they heard the gunshots. According to him, the officers monitored the security cameras and tried to find positions from where they could make a safe shot. The entire incident lasted two minutes.

According to Snelling, Brownlow left the department in good standing.

“We’d have it back in no time,” Snelling said.

According to Snelling, the department did not change its policies or training as a result of Hurley’s death. Officers still have to decide whether to announce themselves before firing, he said.

“If it takes away a tactical advantage, then it’s the officer’s decision,” he said.

Boleyn wants the department to change this policy. She believes her son would still be here if Brownlow had told him to drop his weapon.

“If they had declared themselves in those 11 seconds, Johnny would have lowered his gun and raised his hand,” she said.

“Johnny was ready”

A diagram created by the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office shows the area in Arvada Old Town where Ronald Troik, Officer Gordon Beasley and Johnny Hurley were killed.

Troik ambushed and killed Beasley at 13:35 on June 21, 2021, as Beasley was walking through Old Town Square. As can be seen from the video, Beasley had no way to protect himself from being fired from a Troika shotgun. After killing Beasley, Troik shot through the windows of several Arvada police cars parked nearby before trading his shotgun for a rifle.

Many people nearby heard gunshots, including Hurley at a nearby Army Navy Surplus store and three Arvada police stations in an unmarked office building about 100 feet from Beasley’s body. Three officers, including Brownlow, made their way inside the building but did not come out despite seeing Troika with a rifle, documents released by the First Circuit District Attorney show. In interviews after the shooting, officers said they were worried the man would shoot them because he had a rifle and they had pistols. The officers also feared that neither their vests nor the walls of the building would protect them or others in the service building from bullets.

When Hurley heard the shots, he ran out of the store and took up position behind a nearby brick wall. He fired and killed Troik, then ran over to Troik’s body to take his rifle. An eyewitness to the shooting said that Hurley held the rifle pointed down and unloaded it when more shots rang out and Hurley fell to the ground.

Brownlow watched Hurley hold the rifle and thought he was reloading it, the documents show. Seeing Hurley through the window, Brownlow decided to shoot him without announcing himself.

“I understand that if I yell at him, he will either run into the square or shoot me with this rifle, and gun versus rifle is not a fair fight,” Brownlow later told investigators. interview transcript.

Rathod and Boleyn compared the inaction of the Arvada officers to the belated action of the officers who responded to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The officers involved in that incident did not meet with the shooter at the school for at least 77 minutes. Nineteen children and two teachers died.

Snelling disagreed with this comparison. According to him, the situations were completely different.

The lawsuit also noted that Hurley and Troik wore different clothes and were different heights. It was unwise for Brownlow to confuse Hurley – thin, dressed in a red shirt and pants – with a large man in a black shirt and shorts.

“Mr. Hurley’s death was not the result of an unfortunate split-second judgment, but the result of the deliberate and unlawful use of lethal force,” the lawsuit states.

Whatever the police were supposed to do, Hurley did instead, even though it wasn’t part of his job, Rathod said.

“When the moment came, Johnny was ready,” Boleyn said. “When he was running towards danger, he saw a body lying. He didn’t ask himself if he was yielding weapons or how many other people there were.”

Johnny'S Mother, Kathleen Boleyn, On The Right,...

Katherine Scott, special for The Denver Post

Johnny Hurley’s mother, Kathleen Boleyn (right), is greeted by family and friend at a gathering at Robbie Ferrufino Park in Arvada on July 20, 2021 after a ceremony commemorating Hurley’s life. Hurley was hailed as a hero after he shot and killed a gunman who killed a police officer in Arvada Old Town before he was fatally shot by a responding officer.

“This light has been taken”

According to his mother, 40-year-old Hurley was a charismatic prankster with a gift for garrulousness and a wide range of hobbies. He delved deeply into any topic that interested him: skateboarding, organic cooking, politics, volunteering, music. He gathered friends wherever he went and kept them. Hundreds of people attended his funeral, including school friends from out of state. His teacher sent Boleyn a postcard.

“If you had fun with Johnny, you didn’t care if you were with anyone else, you were just having fun,” Boleyn said.

According to her, after the death of her son, Boleyn received a whole wave of cards, messages and hugs from people who called Hurley a hero. Boleyn erected a small monument in the driveway of her home in Colorado Springs. Working from home, she watched neighbors and strangers stop by to read about her son. She saw how people cheered for the flag she planted there. It helped her grieve.

“I want people to know how grateful the townspeople are that Johnny was there,” she said. “When I got to the square and saw his memorial, I saw how people send their children with flowers to lay at his memorial. People came to me and said: “Your son saved many lives.”

A Candle Burns At The Memorial...

R. J. Sangosti, The Denver Post

A candle burns at the Johnny Hurley memorial in Arvada Old Town on June 25, 2021.

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