Friends and relatives of Johnny Hurley, the Good Samaritan killed in the June 21 Olde Town Arvada shooting, gathered outside First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King’s office on Nov. 18 to rally for increased transparency and police reform in the wake of the DA’s office decision not to charge anyone in Hurley’s death and to publically release the Critical Incident Response Team report into the shooting on Nov. 8.
The rally was organized by the Friends of Johnny Hurley Foundation, a group founded in Aug. with the mission to, “Keep Johnny’s story alive and to help people feel more prepared to be able to protect themselves and to be able to develop systems for policy reform that can keep the community safer,” according to group Co-Founder Brent Kaufman.
Kaufman said he was a friend of Hurley’s and wanted to “extend an olive branch” to King and added that he dropped off a letter at the DA’s office on Nov. 18 requesting that King meet with the Friends of Johnny Hurley Foundation in person to discuss the case and potential reform.
“Ultimately, to build a bridge so we can develop a diverse plan to make the community safer and stronger,” said Kaufman when asked about the purpose of the rally.
“We welcome the community to voice their concerns and join in their grief for the loss of Johnny Hurley, a true hero who acted bravely in the services of others during the tragic events in Olde Town Arvada,” said King’s office in a statement.
Attendees at the rally voiced their concern about Arvada Police’s training procedures and active shooter situation protocols and questioned if more resources or training could have prevented Hurley’s death.
Curt Webbe, a friend of Hurley’s, said that he felt that APD Officer Kraig Brownlow — who fatally shot Hurley after mistaking him for the initial gunman — was not adequately prepared to handle the situation.
“It was a horrible situation for everybody. I look at what the officer did, and maybe additional training would have been able to circumvent that. It just seems to me the officer wasn’t prepared for the situation. I don’t know how to prepare for that. I don’t think police officers get enough training. I just can’t get over how it went over in the end,” said Webbe.
Another friend of Hurley’s, who wished to remain anonymous, urged the City of Arvada to provide adequate resources for APD officers.
“If Arvada Police Department needs better resources and training, then the city needs to accommodate that so that the officers can feel safe,” said the friend.
Kaufman went on to say that his main objectives for the rally were to promote “accountability and prevention.”
“Justice for Johnny means accountability and prevention. Accountability is when we found out that Johnny was killed for helping other people, we felt less safe… I would like to fill that gap and I think that means preventing more tragedies in the future by training police better for active shooter scenarios,” said Kaufman.
Other friends of Hurley took issue with the way the CIRT team investigation was handled.
Ahva Lenay, who said she knew Hurley for about 10 years, felt that his family was not treated comparably to the family of APD Officer Gordon Beesley, who was also a victim of the shooting, throughout the investigative process.
“I think it took way too long for the information to come out and I think that creates mistrust. And I’m all about open communication. I understand how difficult the circumstances were and what was at risk for our police officers, who I care very much about as well. But I think that was way too long and I’d like to see that change,” said Lenay.
“At least if the family were brought in and given some solace and information — it could have trickled to the first layer of family; they could have signed disclosures. It just seems like there was a lot of things that could have been done to bring comfort to the family,” Lenay continued. “The officer who was shot, his family had more comfort, his family got a little more information. It just feels imbalanced.”
Lenay added that she wants to see “bridges between our peacekeepers; the police, and the people” come out of this situation.