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Colorado grocery store shooting: Fallen officer 'loved his kids and his family more than anything'

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Posted at 11:29 PM, Mar 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 07:55:05-04

BOULDER, Colo. — A procession was held Monday evening to honor a fallen Boulder police officer who was among 10 killed in a mass shooting at a Boulder King Soopers earlier in the day.

Eric Talley, 51, was identified during an evening press conference as the officer killed in the shooting.

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 with a high-powered rifle. 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 Talley's 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,” Homer Talley wrote.

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.

The suspect was taken into custody about an hour after the first call. Police said the suspect is the only person they know of who was injured in the incident. Authorities have not identified the nine other victims.

As shots rang out inside the King Soopers, staff inside the grocery store were directing customers to the back and telling them to exit as safely as possible.

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.”

This article was written by Robert Garrison on KMGH in Denver.