Mom of Colorado man killed by police after taking ‘heroic’ actions to stop gunman settles with city
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado city has reached a $2.8 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the mother of a man killed by police in 2021 after taking heroic actions to stop a gunman who had shot another officer, a law firm announced Thursday.
Kathleen Boleyn filed the lawsuit in June 2022, a year after the midday shootings in the main square of Olde Town Arvada, a historic shopping and entertainment area about 7 miles (10 kilometers) northwest of downtown Denver.
Boleyn said her son, Johnny Hurley, ran toward danger and shot the gunman, Ronald Troyke, who had just fatally shot Officer Gordon Beesley. An investigation found Troyke, who died after Hurley shot him, was intent on killing as many officers as he could that day.
The lawsuit said Hurley was crouched down with a rifle pointing down and not in a threatening position when he was shot, adding that a witness said Hurley was taking the magazine out of a rifle that he took away from the shooter.
A district attorney investigation cleared the officer who shot him, Kraig Brownlow. The investigation said it appeared to the officer that Hurley was reloading the rifle or trying to fix something on it. District Attorney Alexis King has said that Brownlow thought Hurley was a second shooter and that he only had a moment to stop him from hurting others.
“Mr. Hurley’s heroic intervention saved lives that day. His bravery and selflessness will never be forgotten,” the Rathod Mohamedbhai law firm said in a statement. “Recognizing that this was a horrible set of circumstances for all involved, the parties have agreed to settle this matter.”
Brownlow was one of three officers who had heard shots and spotted Troyke from inside a nearby police substation. None of the officers inside the substation knew that Beesley, a 19-year department veteran and beloved school resource officer, had been shot or that Hurley had intervened, according to the district attorney’s investigation.
The lawsuit charged that Brownlow and the other two officers “cowered” in the substation, “choosing self-preservation over defense of the civilian population” before Brownlow saw Hurley with Troyke’s gun, opened the building’s door and shot Hurley from behind after deciding against giving a warning first.
“He made this choice despite the fact that no reasonable officer could have perceived a threat from Mr. Hurley’s actions,” the lawsuit said. “Mr. Hurley’s death was not the result of a misfortunate split-second judgment call gone wrong, but the result of a deliberate and unlawful use of deadly force.”
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.