ARVADA, Colo (KDVR) – The Good Samaritan, who police say died while helping prevent others from being hurt during a deadly shooting Monday, carried a concealed weapon and was mentally prepared to defend someone in need, according to his close friends.
Johnny Hurley was one of the victims of a deadly shooting in Arvada on Monday that left three people dead. Investigators are now investigating the possibility that he may have been shot by a responding officer.
“In his mind, he was ready for this moment,” said Haven Waller, a longtime friend.
Arvada Police investigators have not disclosed what heroic actions Hurley took on Monday but according to a press release from the department, “If not for the heroic actions of Mr. Hurley and Arvada Police Officers on that day, more innocent lives would have been lost.”
Cole Crocker, who visited the shooting scene for the first time on Wednesday, said it felt eerie to return to the site where his close friend and former co-worker died.
“There’s a ton of questions, and even if everybody answers them, there will be more after that,” said Crocker. “I think that this is under investigation, and everybody wants to get the facts straight before releasing them, and I respect that. As far as questions go, I just want to know exactly what happened, just like everybody else does. Did Johnny take out the shooter? Did the shooter take him out? What happened?”
Waller said he and Hurley would often discuss gun training and their thoughts about concealed firearms, which Johnny had, according to Waller.
“We prepare for the unknown, and we never want it to happen, but I think our mentality was…we don’t want to be a powerless victim,” Waller said. “We’d rather be able to protect ourselves and our loved ones even if that meant going into danger.”
In November, Waller said Hurley sent him a text in which Hurley disclosed that he would not openly carry his weapon “unless it’s straight up zombie apocalypse.”
According to Waller, Hurley said in a text, “It’s a magnet for attention, and that kind of defeats the element of surprise. As a defender you need to be able to counter ambush. We’re at an automatic disadvantage because the attacker initiates the encounter. Ya know, that’s what makes them an attacker,” Hurley wrote, according to Waller.
“I loved that he used the words ‘as a defender you need to be able to counter an attacker,’” said Waller. “That’s why he carried, for the protection of himself and others, and this is a classic example of an everyday citizen legally carrying a firearm, being ready to step in and use it safely if it meant helping others and keeping others safe from harm.”
Several of Hurley’s friends have come forward to pay their respects and honor his life in the last few days. Many told the Problem Solvers that they are shocked by Hurley’s death but not at all surprised that he stepped in to help during a deadly altercation.
“His bravery and courage is going to go down as legendary status,” said Waller.
Jake Games told the Problem Solvers the news of Hurley’s death was “weird and hard” to hear, but “it fits perfectly with who (Johnny) was.”
Games knew Hurley through his years of work at a high-end meal service where Johnny started as a delivery driver and eventually became a sous chef. He said Hurley always had something positive to say.
“I think he’d like to be known as a person who unquestionably sought truth and justice and morality, across the board,” said Games.
He told the Problem Solvers that Hurley “spent a life, definitely, ardently, against the police, in general, and police brutality, specifically.”
However, Games said his friend was always looking out for others, regardless of their profession.
“It’s not a shock at all to me that he put his feelings and his thoughts there aside to respond to just a person that was in danger. Police or no police,” said Games. “Johnny’s a hero.”
“JUST A GOOD GUY”
Elliot Darling, who co-owned All Love Catering with Cole Crocker and Jenn Masak, worked with Hurley for years and said Johnny was like his little brother.
Darling said they would have playful phone conversations with each other, imitating the classic Seinfeld quote, “Hello, Newman”. Instead, they’d say, ‘Hello, Elliot’ and ‘Hello, Johnny,’ in a snide tone that made it seem like the two great friends were actually enemies.
“We were friends inside and outside of the kitchen,” Darling said. “He was very intelligent. Well-spoken. He was just a good, good guy. He was always challenging himself and people around him to progress and do better and get better and just be better people and more intelligent.”
Darling said Hurley was fun to be around, loved to listen to music, and would go on skateboarding, mountain biking, and camping outings with the group.
Crocker enjoyed those outings too.
“I’m still in shock,” said Crocker.
He said he has been trying to read every article about the shooting to find out more about what transpired.
“From what I gather, Johnny stepped up and laid his life down for other people,” Crocker said. “He was already a hero in so many ways to so many different people.”
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Jenn Masak. “I’m extremely proud of him. I’m extremely proud of him because I know that he did what he believed in, and he saved a lot of people….he was literally protecting his community and all his families in this community.”
Brent Kaufman met Hurley through We Are Change Colorado. The community organization often hosts open mic nights that the two would attend.
“He beatboxed and I rap, so we clicked. He’s very talented, we hung out many times, just jammed or worked on music,” said Kaufman.
Kaufman says Hurley wasn’t afraid to be himself and live fully.
“He definitely had character. I feel like people that knew him really know him. Some of us are more mysterious than others but we know who Johnny was. I’m crushed I won’t be able to hug him again, but I’m not surprised he stepped up and did what he did to help people,” said Kaufman.
We Are Change Colorado released a statement Wednesday night regarding Hurley’s death.