Heartbreaking details have been emerging of the plans Officer Eric Talley had for the future before his life was cut short in the devastating Boulder shooting.
Here's the full story...
Now, the country remains in a state of shock following Monday's horrifying mass shooting in Colorado.
Police responded to reports of an "active shooter" at the King Soopers grocery store just before 3 pm local time on Monday in Boulder.
Ten people, a responding police officer included, tragically lost their lives in the attack.
Twenty-one-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was identified by authorities yesterday as the gunman.
Boulder police chief, Maris Herold, announced the death toll at a news conference on Monday night...
Fighting back tears, Boulder police Chief Maris Herold announced that 10 people, including an officer in her department, had been killed in a shooting at a Colorado market. https://t.co/bICXWVZl2X pic.twitter.com/oR0zMqqfj8— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) March 23, 2021
And, visibly overcome with emotion, fought back tears as she spoke.
Many customers who were in the store witnessed the bloodshed...
And they have been speaking to numerous news outlets about the harrowing things they saw during that terrifying hour.
"We were at the checkout, and shots just started going off."
Sarah Moonshadow, forty-two, a customer and resident of Boulder, was in the store with her son, Nicholas, on Monday and recounted scenes of pandemonium as gunfire rang out.
"I said, 'Nicholas get down.' And Nicholas ducked. And we just started listening and there, just repetitive shots ... And I just said, 'Nicholas, run'," she told Reuters, as per The Guardian.
Another customer, Ryan Borowski, was inside the store when the shooting began.
He told CNN: "I saw terrified faces running towards me and that's when I turned and ran the other direction."
He said staff helped customers to exit from the back of the store but some people just froze on the spot: "We ran and I don't know why other people didn't and I am sorry that they froze and I just wish that this didn't happen – I wish I had an answer for why it did."
Alex Arellano, thirty-five, was working in the meat department at King Soopers when he heard gunshots and saw people running for the exit.
"I thought I was going to die," he told the New York Times, when he heard the shot getting closer, "I'm thinking of my parents, and I was freaking out."
He hid with 2 other men before escaping through a rear exit.
Yesterday, President Biden called for a nationwide ban on assault weapons, background check reforms, and changes to gun restrictions in his first meeting since the shooting.
"I don't need to wait another minute, let alone an hour, to take commonsense steps that will save lives in the future," he said in a statement.
But now, as the country continues to come to terms with what happened, heartbreaking new details have been emerging.
It was quickly confirmed that the responding police officer on the scene, Officer Eric Talley, died in the line of duty.
Officer Talley, fifty-one, was the first officer to respond to reports of an armed man inside the grocery store...
But, sadly, it's where the father of 7 died after actions that were described as "heroic" by officials.
He had arrived on the scene just minutes after the first 911 calls came in reporting shots fired.
"I have to tell you the heroic action of this officer when he responded to the scene," Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, adding that Talley responded after "a phone call about a possible person with a patrol rifle."
"Officer Talley responded to the scene, was first on the scene, and he was fatally shot," Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold confirmed.
Since the news of his death was announced, Talley has been remembered as "one of the outstanding officers" by the county's district attorney.
He had been a member of the force since 2010, according to Herold.
Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley was 51. He served for 10 years with the department. Talley was the first officer at the scene of the King Soopers mass shooting in Colorado and is being hailed as a hero for rushing into the grocery store: https://t.co/3FUePCyz02 pic.twitter.com/oxYxeFxklX— Tom Cleary (@tomwcleary) March 23, 2021
"It didn't surprise me he was the first one there," Talley's father, Homer Talley, told CNN affiliate KUSA of his son's heroic actions.
He described him as a prankster with a "great sense of humor."
He is survived by his wife and 7 children, the oldest of whom is twenty, according to his father.
Officer Eric Talley is my big brother. He died today in the Boulder shooting. My heart is broken. I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many. Fly high my sweet brother. You always wanted to be a pilot (damn color blindness). Soar. pic.twitter.com/tgt2DxPsqz— Kirstin (@Roozersmom) March 23, 2021
"He loved his family more than anything."
Countless stories of Talley's efforts in the force have been emerging since his premature death.
the father of slain officer Eric Talley described him:— John Harwood (@JohnJHarwood) March 23, 2021
“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.”
Herold revealed that, just 2 weeks ago, she had given one of Talley's sons an award for using the CPR skills his father taught him to save the life of a little brother who had swallowed a quarter.
Talley had also gained brief viral fame in a 2013 article as one of 3 police officers who helped to save ducks stuck in a drainage ditch.
One of the 10 people killed at the Boulder King Soopers was Boulder police officer Eric Talley.— Jon Murray (@JonMurray) March 23, 2021
I found this story from 2013 about Talley's involvement in a rescue of ducks from a drainage ditch near this same store. https://t.co/tkmEDciGKP
He waded into calf-deep water to rescue the ducks from the pipes, according to the article in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.
A Twitter user also shared her experience with Talley, detailing how he had been one of the responding officers when she reported her abusive ex-boyfriend in 2013.
TW: In 2013 I called 911 when my abusive HS/college ex boyfriend showed up uninvited pounding on my door threatening me outside my apartment in Boulder. One of the officers to respond & help that night was Officer Eric Talley. He stayed with me throughout the entire ordeal- pic.twitter.com/9Wm95CK9qQ— Annabelle Marie (@NabbieBelle) March 23, 2021
"While the other officers were outside reading my abuser his rights, Officer Talley was kind enough to stay with me until a friend could come to get me. He gave me his personal card 'call me if the coward decides to show his face again.' To this day I credit Officer Talley for saving my life. I still have his card."
But now, his plans for the future have been revealed...
And they are utterly heartbreaking.
Lately, Talley had been considering a new line of work, his father said in a statement issued to local media.
Eric Talley's dad told #9NEWS tonight that he had seven kids. He also said that Eric was working toward becoming a drone operator because he thought it was safer.— Erin Powell (@erinepowell) March 23, 2021
Boulder Police Dept. Officer Eric Talley died today in the King Soopers shooting. He was one of 10 killed. pic.twitter.com/6WHSyXYBbT
"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," Homer said.
Rest in peace, Officer Eric Talley.
Officer Eric Talley was killed heroically responding to the #BoulderShooting on Monday. His police vehicle is parked outside the @boulderpolice station at 1805 33rd St. in memory of Eric and his service. pic.twitter.com/7Cr2xNGcFR— City of Boulder (@bouldercolorado) March 23, 2021
Our thoughts go out to his family during this difficult time.