BOULDER, Colo. (KDVR) — One of the first Boulder police officers to arrive at the scene of the King Soopers shooting on Monday lost his life in the line of duty. Eric Talley, 51, was among the 10 people killed when a suspect opened fire at the grocery store.
A steady stream of mourners have been stopping by a growing memorial outside the Boulder Police Department.
Friends and co-workers are still in shock, but no one is surprised Officer Eric Talley gave his life trying to save others.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, “He cared about this community. He cared about the boulder police department. He cared about his family and he was willing to die to protect others.”
Officer Talley joined the Boulder Police Department in 2010.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Denver released a statement from Archbishop Samuel Aquila that said, “Along with the rest of the community, we are waiting for more details on those who have passed away. We do know that Officer Eric Talley was Catholic, and has been described as a man of character and strong faith, a loving father to seven children, a husband who cared deeply for his family, and a soldier for Christ. My prayers and those of the faithful of the Archdiocese of Denver are with the Talley Family and all who have died.
We also know that Officer Talley regularly stopped by St. Martin de Porres in Boulder and participated in its events, even though he wasn’t a parishioner there. For those unfamiliar with the area where the shooting occurred, St. Martin de Porres is just across the street from King Soopers.
St. Martin de Porres, the patron of the parish, was someone who experienced tragedy and hardship in his life, and so, we ask for his intercession in these difficult circumstances, that God would bring good out of this great evil.
While we still do not know what led up to this terrible event, incidents like this have become far too common in our country and our state. We must work to promote deeper conversion of hearts so that our lives are characterized by the virtue of charity, which allows us to love God and our neighbor, strengthening the fabric of society and preventing senseless acts of violence such as this one.”
Herold said, “I can tell you he’s a very kind man and he didn’t have to go into policing. He had a profession before this, but he felt a higher calling and he loved this community. He is everything policing deserves and needs.”
A former co-worker named Nathan said of Talley, “He always had a smile on his face, super patient, super kind, just very easy-going kind of guy.”
Even strangers felt compelled to stop by and leave flowers, cards and momentos at the memorial. A team from Home Depot dropped off a floral arrangement and poster. Kim Woelfel said she did not know Officer Talley personally, but, “We feel strongly that law enforcement needs to be recognized and we feel compassion and love for all those impacted. His seven children, his wife. And all those King Soopers people. We even had Home Depot people who are struggling because that was their store. That was their King Soopers, so we are just trying to be there to support the community.”
Nabil Karkamaz said, “He used to shop in our store. He was a great officer, great human being and this is why I brought my family today to pray for him and all the shooting victims.”
FOX31 spoke to Talley’s father hours after he was identified as the fallen officer in the shooting.
“He was a man of heart who loved his job,” Homer Talley said. He described Talley as someone who loved his family.
A procession was held Monday night, escorting Talley’s body through the city of Boulder.