ARVADA, Colo. – Three people are dead – including a veteran officer of the Arvada Police Department – following a shooting in Olde Town early Monday afternoon.
Monday evening, the Arvada Police Department confirmed Officer Gordon Beesley died in the shooting. Beesley, a 19-year veteran with the department, was also a school resource officer at Oberon Middle School who worked patrol while school was out for the summer.
Beesley was responding to a call of a suspicious incident near the Arvada Library in Olde Town at around 1:15 p.m. About 15 minutes later, the department received calls of shots fired in the area and that an officer had been hit by gunfire.
During a news conference late Monday afternoon, Arvada Police Deputy Chief Ed Brady said the suspect was shot and killed at the scene and another person, believed to be a Good Samaritan, was also shot and taken to a hospital, where that person later died.
The identities of the suspect and the other individual were not released Monday.
Brady said there is no threat to the public and they’re not searching for anyone else in connection to this deadly shooting. A shelter in place that was put in place for the area of 57th Avenue and Olde Wadsworth Boulevard has also been lifted. Olde Town Square was cleared by 10:30 p.m. Citizens and business owners may return to pick up cars, and a company will board up some windows in the area.
Jeremy Weist said he heard 5-7 gunshots and then turned around to see the officer fall to the ground. Weist said there wasn't much yelling, and though he can't quite recall what the shooter looked like, he said the shooter seemed "detached."
"You think about how you might react to situations like this, and you feel completely helpless," Weist said.
A procession to honor Beesley took place Monday evening, starting from Ralston Road to Wadsworth Boulevard, then continuing on I-70 until it arrives at 6th Avenue and ending at the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. You can watch our continuing coverage in the video below. Dozens of first responders, as well as community members, came out to pay their respects during the procession.
"These are some of the best cops anywhere"
Jamie Hollier, owner of Balefire Goods, said she heard three different bursts of gunshots before she came to the front of the shop and locked her doors.
Hollier told Denver7's Adi Guajardo she immediately got in touch with her husband.
She said she told him, "You might hear on your news that there’s a shooter. And I’m OK. And tell my son I’m OK."
She said she just wanted her family to know she was fine if they heard the news.
She said news of an officer killed in Arvada hit hard for her community.
"I just had two cops come out this morning to help me with some stuff in front of the gallery," Hollier said. "The thing about this community is the cops are very different... they’re very well-trained, they’re very empathetic. They care a lot about all members of the community, even the ones that are more troubled. And you can see it in the way they engage with some of the more difficult people in our community. So, it breaks my heart because these are some of the best cops anywhere."
During a phone interview with Denver7's Jason Gruenauer, Mayor Marc Williams said the officers assigned to Olde Town Arvada are on-the-street cops who befriend and work with people.
"Each and every day, all of our officers go out not knowing what’s going to be ahead of them and what’s going to be in front. But their willingness to do that, and to protect us, is what makes them so special and that we really, really do need to respect and honor them," Williams said. "Let’s respect our officers and realize that what they’re doing is to be there to protect us. And they put their lives on the line each and every day."
Dot Miller, the Arvada Mayor Pro-Tem, also told Gruenauer she was devastated after learning an officer had been killed.
"When you hear 'active shooter in Arvada,' it's something I never thought I would hear. I'm just devastated by the violence. I feel like the violence in this world isn't gonna end. It's shocking and horrible. It's horrible that an officer was shot today. It's horrible that people are sitting in Olde Town Arvada enjoying lunch and shots are fired," Miller said. "It really is - no matter where it happens - in Arvada, in Boulder... senseless violence. It's shocking no matter where it happens," she said.
Reverend Gretchen with the Shrine at St. Anne School, a Catholic school in Olde Town, said kids came running and screaming that there was a shooting. She said she was frightened, but not surprised.
"I'm not surprised, sadly. I think this is what we see. This happened to be on my street corner today, but I think it happens in many places every single day. And it happened here today, so it affects us. It’s very sad," Reverend Gretchen said.
Gov. Jared Polis released a statement late Monday afternoon in which he said his office was closely monitoring the situation.
"My thoughts are with the family and friends of the officer who was tragically killed in the line of duty while swiftly and bravely responding to protect civilians in the area," Polis said in his statement.
Arvada will light up the Olde Town water tower blue this week and flags will be lowered at half-staff to honor the fallen officer.
Olde Town Arvada Water Tower lit up in blue for fallen officer, becoming more visible as sun goes down. pic.twitter.com/pgvDgRVcga— Dalton Ross (@DaltonDenverCO) June 22, 2021
A prayer vigil is scheduled for 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at Peace Lutheran Church, located at 5675 Field St., Arvada. Due to community interest, the vigil will also be streamed online here. It will also be broadcast on Arvada's Channel 8, available locally on Comcast/TDS Channels 8/HD880.
The APD also said a temporary memorial has been placed at the entrance to City Hall.
"This location is highly visible to the City’s public safety team and is the most meaningful place for people to pay respects and place memorials in support of Officer Beesley, his family and our Police Department," officials said on their Facebook page.
How you can help
The Arvada Police Department said in a tweet anyone wishing to make a donation for Beesley can do so through the Colorado Fallen Hero Foundation.
Denver7's Adi Guajardo and Jason Gruenauer contributed to this report.