Crime

What We Know About the Olde Town Arvada Triple Shooting So Far

A portrait of late Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley.
Arvada Police Department
A portrait of late Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley.
Metro Denver came to a halt on the afternoon of June 21, when news broke about a shooting in one of the least likely locations imaginable: Olde Town Arvada, near the community's beautiful library. Three people were killed in the violent act, including the shooter, a thus-far-unidentified person characterized as a good Samaritan, and Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley, a school resource officer who appears to have been among the most beloved members of the force.

The biggest headline Beesley had generated prior to his tragic death involved a 9News report from 2015 about his devotion to helping a developmentally delayed Oberon Middle School student with his bicycle commute to class.

Aside from the esteem in which Beesley was held, however, much about the shocking episode remains unknown. The Arvada Police Department didn't formally name Beesley until after 9 p.m., nearly eight hours after the shooting started, and the APD isn't expected to offer much additional information about what it's currently referring to as a "suspicious incident" for several more hours. The APD's most recent Twitter message, sent at 10:30 p.m. June 21, reads simply: "Olde Town Square is now clear. Citizens and business owners may return to pick up cars, etc. There will be a company boarding up some windows in the area."

According to the department, the first report to police about an issue in Olde Town Square came in at around 1:15 p.m. on June 21. Just over fifteen minutes later, 911 calls began flooding in about shots fired and an officer being hit.


Among those who had to take cover were employees at the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, located less than a block from where gunfire rang out. Chamber president Kami Welch and her staffers, including those working at the visitors' center for the community, took cover in the basement of the building and stayed there for more than an hour before getting an okay to emerge.
click to enlarge The police presence in Olde Town was heavy after the shooting. - CBS4 VIA YOUTUBE
The police presence in Olde Town was heavy after the shooting.
CBS4 via YouTube
Early on, the APD issued a shelter-in-place order that was in place until late in the afternoon. That order was renewed around 5 p.m. "out of an abundance of caution," before being lifted again at 8:45 p.m. "At this time," it stated, "we believe this was an isolated incident and there is no continued threat to our community."

In the meantime, however, plenty of damage was done. The suspect was shot and killed, while a bystander perished after being transported to the hospital.

Beesley had worked for the Arvada Police Department for nineteen years, and most recently was assigned to serve as the resource officer at Oberon Middle School; he'd been on patrol duty after school ended for the academic year.

Even before Beesley was ID'd, the officer was the subject of numerous tributes. "We are closely monitoring the troubling situation in Arvada," Governor Jared Polis said in a statement. "My thoughts are with the family and friends of the officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty while swiftly and bravely responding to protect civilians in the area."

Also weighing in was Senator Rachel Zenzinger, who represents Arvada. "I am heartbroken to hear about the events that took the life of one of Arvada's finest," she said. "I extend my deepest sympathies to the officer's family, friends and colleagues. I am also devastated to know that at least one other life was lost in this tragedy. Be strong, Arvada."

Television reporters covering the shooting had a tough job, given the dearth of information from official sources; they were mostly left to repeat the basics while broadcasting visuals such as a police procession in the fallen officer's honor. But the APD continues to keep a tight hold on details; many of its tweets have focused on dissuading people wanting to help from donating to unauthorized GoFundMe sites that might pop up and instead directing gifts to the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.

"We know there are many rumors already floating around," the APD acknowledged in the late-night release that named Beesley. "This is still an active investigation and we will not be able to address or confirm rumors."

The department added: "We want to thank all of the local police agencies who came to support us during this incident, and our community for the outpouring of support."