Hundreds of people lined the highway to pay their respects to fallen officer Eric Talley as a police procession carried his coffin to his final resting place. Officer Talley, 51, was fatally shot in the line of duty while responding to the recent mass shooting in Boulder, Colorado. He was an 11-year veteran on the force and a father of seven children between ages 7 and 20.
According to The New York Times, families, police officers, college students, paramedics, park rangers and other emergency responders turned out to watch the hearse carry Officer Talley’s body down the three-mile stretch of Foothills Parkway from the coroner’s office to the funeral home.
Observers saluted and held their hands over their hearts with tears in their eyes as the hearse passed.
The nearby Broomfield Police Department also paid their respects, with officers gathered on a bridge overlooking the highway of the procession’s southbound route. They posted a tweet with cruisers on the bridge and a caption saying, “paying our respects to Officer Talley and his family.”
Family and friends described Talley as “quietly heroic,” The Denver Post reported. At his funeral service, Rev. Daniel Nolan said, “I would argue his life was not taken — it was given.”
Talley was described as a “tech guru” with an “eternal sense of optimism,” and was known for his small acts of kindness.
Officer Talley was among the 10 casualties of the grocery store shooting rampage by suspect Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, who faces 10 counts of murder.
Investigators say the shooting began in the parking lot and then ended in the King Soopers grocery store. Alissa, described by his brother as “paranoid” and “anti-social,” was armed with a handgun and semi-automatic rifle.
Officer Talley was the first officer to reach the scene. Officers who came later found him lying unconscious and dragged him outside.
A candlelight vigil was also scheduled outside the Boulder County Courthouse to honor the fallen officer.
According to The New York Times, the gun used by the officer would have been prohibited under a city ordinance passed in 2018. When the suspect purchased the gun, the ordinance was no longer in effect. Apparently, a Boulder county judge ruled that the ban violated state law. He made the ruling just nine days before the shooting.
In the wake of the shooting, President Biden has pushed for increased background checks for gun sales and a ban on assault weapons.