Updated: 9:26 AM PDT, March 23, 2021
A Boulder police officer who was the first to respond to a mass shooting at a grocery store in Colorado and was shot dead by the gunman is now being called a “hero” for his actions, but his family said that’s just who he was.
“Didn’t surprise me he was the first one there,” Talley’s father, Homer Talley, told KUSA of his son.
Talley, 51, was one of ten victims killed when a gunman opened fire in King Stoopers store on Monday. Talley, who had been working for the department since 2010, was reportedly the first officer to arrive after 911 calls came in reporting shots fired around 2:30 p.m., according to police.
Gov. Jared Polis said the fallen officer “was heroically trying to save others,” in a Tuesday press conference in Boulder.
A vigil was held for Talley on Monday night. He is survived by his wife and his seven children.
“He loved his family more than anything,” his father told the station.
He is also remembered as “outstanding” by his community.
“My heart goes out to Eric Talley’s family, his loved ones, and his colleagues,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said. “He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut far too short, as he responded to the shooting that was taking place at King Soopers.”
People who were in the store described the shooting as terrifying. Alex Arellano, 35, who was working in the meat department at King Soopers, told The New York Times he “thought he was going to die.” Arellano said when people heard the gunfire they started running toward the exit.
A mother, who was also in the store, recounted how she hid with her son when she heard the gunfire erupt. Sarah Moonshadow told ABC News she could tell where the shooter was by the sound of gunfire and that as he began getting closer to them, she started counting the seconds in between shots.
“I just looked at my son and I told him — by the fourth shot I started counting — and I told him, ‘We have three seconds. Stay low and don’t look. And just move fast,'” she recalled.
The pair were able to escape the store.
A motive for the shooting still remains unclear, but videos circulating online showed an apparently wounded and handcuffed man being escorted by police. Police have identified the suspect arrested as 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa and he was charged Tuesday with 10 counts of murder. Police did not state that the man in the video was Alissa.
The Boulder shooting comes less than a week after a gunman in Atlanta killed eight people, six of them of Asian descent, at three spas around the city.