Colorado police fatally shot a Good Samaritan last year who had used his pistol to take out an active shooter.
Now, the Good Samaritan’s mother has sued the officer responsible and the city’s police chief.
Prosecutors have already cleared the officer, saying the shooting was justified.
The mother of a Good Samaritan who was fatally shot by police after he took down an active shooter has sued the officer responsible and the city’s police chief, alleging that the officer should have known that the Good Samaritan was not the active shooter.
Johnny Hurley, using his concealed-carry pistol, shot an active shooter named Ronald Troyke on June 21, 2021, after Troyke opened fire in a Colorado shopping and entertainment district and killed police officer Gordon Beesley. According to the lawsuit and Colorado authorities, Hurley then picked up the Troyke’s rifle to remove the magazine. But when an Arvada police officer saw Hurley holding the rifle, the officer fatally shot Hurley from behind without warning.
The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in a Colorado court this week by Hurley’s mother, Kathleen Boleyn, alleged that the officer responsible, Kraig Brownlow, should have known that Hurley was not an active shooter because Hurley and Troyke were wearing different clothing and looked markedly different .
When the incident began that day, Brownlow and several other officers heard gunshots and saw Troyke from the window of a police administrative office, and saw that he was a heavy-set man carrying a long gun and wearing a black shirt and a hat, according to the lawsuit.
“Unlike Mr. Hurley, the three APD officers did not spring into action,” the lawsuit alleged. “Rather, they cowered inside, choosing self-preservation over defense of the civilian population.”
The Arvada Police Department told Insider in a statement that Brownlow had since resigned from the department in good standing. A spokesperson said that after an internal review, “the APD found that Officer Brownlow’s actions were consistent with APD policy and procedures” and that “the APD is not considering changes to its actual training or response protocols at this time.”
Colorado prosecutors previously investigated the incident and declared they would not criminally charge Brownlow over the shooting. In a letter last year announcing the decisionDistrict Attorney Alexis King said that Brownlow’s decision to shoot Hurley “was legally justified despite his heroic actions that day.”
Prosecutors said though Brownlow was aware that the active shooter was wearing black, he reasonably perceived that Hurley, who was dressed in red, also posed a threat and could have been a second active shooter.
“At that moment, from the information available to Officer Brownlow, John Hurley was armed with a powerful rifle and handgun in a populated area amidst an active shooting,” they wrote. “Based upon information known to Brownlow, the presence of a mass shooter, and the potential for a second mass shooter in a red shirt carrying a rifle and a handgun turned toward a hub of community activity, warranted deadly force and no less degree of force would eliminate the potential threat.”
But Boleyn’s lawsuit alleged that “no reasonable officer could have perceived a threat for Mr. Hurley’s actions,” and that his death “was not the result of a misfortunate split-second judgment call gone wrong, but the result of a deliberate and unlawful use of force.”
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