A veteran police officer was murdered after responding to a call about a suspicious person in an Arvada, Colorado shopping district.
The incident, which occurred just before 2 p.m. on June 21, began when officers were called to Olde Town Arvada Square in the area of 57th and Ole Wadsworth on a report of a “suspicious incident.”
Soon after the officers arrived on the scene, the Arvada Police Department received several 911 calls reporting that an officer had been shot.
According to Arvada Deputy Chief Ed Brady, the gunman fatally shot the officer before being shot and killed. A bystander was also shot, and was taken to a hospital where they were pronounced dead.
“At this time, we believe this person was shot and killed by the gunman,” Brady said.
The bystander and gunman have not yet been identified. Police have identified the fallen officer as 19-year department veteran Gordon Beesley.
According to Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, this is only the third time an Arvada police officer has died on duty in the history of the department, and is the first on-duty officer death that involved a firearm.
“Obviously it’s a horribly sad day for Arvada and for the region,” Williams said. “There’s been so much of this. You hate to see it happen anywhere, but to see it happen in your community really brings it home.”
A procession was held for Officer Beesley on the evening of June 22, with dozens of police vehicles driving behind the hearse carrying the officer’s body to the Jefferson County coroner’s office.
Arvada residents lined the street along the procession route with flags, including John Garrod, who held a thin blue line flag. Garrod, an Arvada resident, said that he hangs the flag outside of his house whenever a police officer is killed.
“It breaks my heart whenever this happens but especially when it happens so close to home,” Garrod, whose son, brother-in-law and nephew are all in law enforcement, said. “These are the same officers I wave to when I am walking my dog.”
Anyone who wishes to support Officer Beesley’s family should direct all donations to cofallenhero.org, the police department said.
“Our hearts are heavy with the news of the fallen peace officer in Arvada, Colorado. Our first responders dedicate their lives to protecting ours and every day, they go to work ready to run toward danger. They deserve our full support, individually and collectively,” the official Twitter account for the Colorado Springs Mayor’s Office tweeted.
“Our hearts and prayers are with the officer’s family and friends today, as well as with all the residents of Arvada as they grieve today’s senseless violence,” the mayor’s office wrote in a subsequent tweet.
Our hearts and prayers are with the officer’s family and friends today, as well as with all the residents of Arvada as they grieve today’s senseless violence.
— Colorado Springs Mayor's Office (@MayorofCOS) June 21, 2021
Marshall Zelinger, a reporter for 9 News, shared on Twitter that the bystander who was killed may have been a “Samaritan,” meaning someone who tried to intervene to help in the situation.
“The suspect is also dead. Arvada Police Detective Dave Snelling said a third person, possibly a ‘Samaritan,’ was also killed,” Zelinger wrote.
The suspect is also dead. Arvada Police Detective Dave Snelling said a third person, possibly a "Samaritan," was also killed.
— Marshall Zelinger (@Marshall9News) June 21, 2021
“We send our deepest condolences to those who knew and loved the fallen Arvada Police Officer. May the love of friends and family give you strength during this difficult time,” the Parker Police Department wrote on Twitter.
We send our deepest condolences to those who knew and loved the fallen Arvada Police Officer. May the love of friends and family give you strength during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/NvAXD339CH
— Parker Police Dept. (@ParkerPolice) June 21, 2021