COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KXRM) — A police cadet who is set to graduate from Pikes Peak State College’s Law Enforcement Academy was inspired by the bravery and selflessness of a fallen officer who died trying to stop a gunman who opened fire at the King Soopers in Boulder.

According to PPSC, Sam Dunbar was so inspired by Officer Eric Talley‘s actions during the Boulder King Soopers shooting in 2021 that he decided to attend Pikes Peak State’s Law Enforcement Academy to become a police officer.

On the day a gunman began shooting people at the Boulder King Soopers grocery store, Talley, a well-liked and respected member of the Boulder Police Department, ran into the building, saving many lives before he was fatally shot by the suspect.

PPSC said Dunbar knew his calling the moment he saw the news. Dunbar was nearly finished with real estate school and about to get his license, but he decided to put all that aside. He was inspired by the actions of Talley that day and decided instead to serve his community and become a police officer. 

Dunbar was originally set to graduate on Thursday, Dec. 22 at the Pikes Peak Regional Law Enforcement Fall 2022 Graduation Ceremony, but the ceremony was rescheduled to Jan. 5 due to the inclement weather and cold temperatures that hit Southern Colorado.

Leah Talley, Eric’s widow, is set to be in attendance at the ceremony and PPSC said she was looking forward to congratulating Officer Dunbar and celebrating his new career.

A small group from the Boulder Police Department will also be in attendance and will present Dunbar with a challenge coin.

PPSC said Dunbar has been hired by the Woodland Park Police Department and his new chief, Chris Deisler, will be a guest speaker at the ceremony. Deisler was also requested to pin Dunbar and a second cadet, Spencer Van Camp, who has also been hired by his agency, PPSC said.