John Hurley Hailed, Ronald Troyke ID'd in Olde Town Arvada "Ambush"

The late John Hurley and a scene from the June 22 Arvada Police Department press conference.
The late John Hurley and a scene from the June 22 Arvada Police Department press conference. Family photo via KDVR/Denver7 via YouTube
Information about the June 21 attack in Olde Town Arvada that left three people dead, including Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley, has been trickling out slowly. On the day of the shooting, the Arvada Police Department released few details about the incident. Then, at a 4 p.m. press conference on June 22 that lasted less than ten minutes, APD chief Link Strate and other officials dropped a bombshell, contending that Beesley was targeted by someone who despised cops — without providing additional context or even naming the gunman.

Strate and company did divulge the identity of John Hurley, a forty-year-old from Golden who's been hailed as a Good Samaritan — and the Jefferson County Coroner's Office subsequently ID'd the shooter as 59-year-old Ronald Troyke. But other information remains under wraps.

The "suspicious incident," as the APD initially labeled it, started at around 1:15 p.m. on June 21 in Olde Town Square, near Arvada's main library. Just over fifteen minutes later, 911 calls began flooding in regarding shots fired and an officer down. The police department quickly issued a shelter-in-place order that remained in place until late that afternoon, was renewed around 5 p.m. "out of an abundance of caution," and was finally lifted at around 8:45 p.m.

By then, metro Denver had learned all about Beesley, a school resource officer who was put on patrol duty after the close of the 2020-2021 academic year. 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, and the tributes to his kindness and caring continue to accumulate.

Hurley worked at All Love Catering prior to its bankruptcy filing in July 2020; the business was yet another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. He's being lauded by friends and former co-workers; Strate called him "a true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life."

Here's a video of the June 22 press conference, via Denver7:

Much of the brief conference was spent celebrating Beesley and laying out the basics of the investigation, which is being conducted in large part by the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. But Strate did tease a potential motive in the shooting.

"Officer Beesley was ambushed by a person who expressed a hatred of police officers," he asserted. "This ambush occurred in Olde Town Arvada, where we have other officers stationed."

Strate added: "Communities need to understand and know what they ask of their police officers — the sacrifices they make, the cost to them to protect your safety. This was a deliberate act of violence."

Then he stressed: "We still believe this was an isolated incident and our community is safe."

If Troyke had recent interactions with law enforcement, they've yet to surface. According to the Arvada Press, he was convicted in Gilpin County for assault in 1992 and driving while ability impaired in 1994. in the ’90s, he was twice sued for back rent in Jefferson County, and evicted from a rental property in 1995.

Donations on Beesley's behalf can be made to the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation, and a GoFundMe page devoted to Hurley can be found here. By the way, prior to becoming a police officer, Beesley was the drummer for a Colorado band called the Railbenders. Read our 2001 profile of the group here.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts