BOULDER — The memorial service for fallen Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley was held March 30 at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette.
Talley, a 51-year-old father of seven, was the first responding officer to Monday's mass shooting, which left ten people dead. At his memorial service, his direct supervisor Sergeant Adrian Drelles, said "from the time that Eric entered the store, and confronted the suspect, no other civilian was hurt."
"He's everything policing deserves and needs," Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said. "He cared about this community, he cared about Boulder Police Department, and he cared about his family. And, he was willing to die to protect others."
"I remember it being the longest, most emotional car ride of my entire life. I was shaking as we pulled up to the house. I had no idea how I was going to comfort his wife and the kids, but something unexpected happened. Eric's kids jumped into action, started making phone calls, and instead, they gave me comfort. In the darkest hour of their life, they made sure that we were okay."
Officials have said Talley's actions, running toward the gunfire along with his colleagues, saved lives.
"He died charging into the line of fire to save people who were simply trying to live their lives and go food shopping," Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said.
You can watch the memorial service on your time via our streaming platform KOAA News5 on Roku, FireTV, AppleTV, AndroidTV.
During the memorial, a poem and prayer written by Officer Talley's children on Christmas of 2019 was presented to mourners. It reads as follows:
"I would say he has left his mark, but not because of how he died, but because of how he lived."
Officer Talley was identified on the evening of March 22 during a press conference as the officer killed in the shooting.
Escorted by a procession of emergency vehicles, an ambulance carrying the body of Talley left the Table Mesa Road King Soopers around 8 p.m., making its way to a funeral home. Along the way, officers and first responders honored the fallen officer by saluting.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said Talley was one of the first officers to respond to a 911 call from the grocery store and encountered the suspect, who was armed. Talley had been with the Boulder Police Department since 2010.
"I'm grateful for the police officers that responded and I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley," Herold said.
Talley was a father of seven and joined the force at the age of 40, according to a statement from his father, Homer Talley.
“He took his job as a police officer very seriously. He had seven children. The youngest is 7 year old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything. He joined the police force when he was 40 years old. He was looking for a job to keep himself off of the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn’t want to put his family through something like this and he believed in Jesus Christ,” wrote Homer Talley.
The suspect was taken into custody about an hour after the initial call.
As shots rang out inside the King Soopers, staff inside the grocery store were directing customers to the back and trying to give them a safe way to exit.
One of those customers was Andrew Hummel.
“It was a truly horrifying experience,” Hummel said, recalling the chaos inside the grocery store.
Multiple law enforcement agencies have reached out to the Boulder Police Department to express their condolences and show their support for the agency.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted:
“Our hearts go out to Officer Eric Talley, his family and the families of the other victims from this tragic day.”
The Colorado State Patrol tweeted:
“Our hearts and prayers are with the Boulder Police family tonight as they face the loss of a heroic brother in blue.”
Westminster Police said:
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Boulder Police Department. To all the victims who lost their lives, and all the brave men and women who responded to the active shooter at King Soopers this afternoon.”
The officer's family attended a funeral mass on Monday at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Denver.