New documents shed light on Olde Town Arvada shooter’s motive

Shooter cites Elijah McClain death and DUI as inciting incidents


New letters released by the Arvada Police Department on Nov. 23 shed light on Olde Town Arvada shooter Ronald Troyke’s motive in leadup to the June 21, 2021 shooting that left three dead, including Troyke. The letters, which frequently mention the Sovereign Citizen movement, cite the 2019 death of Elijah McClain at the hands of the Aurora Police Department and Troyke’s 1994 drunk driving conviction.

Also released by Arvada Police were the department’s own report on the murder of Officer Gordon Beesley, a report on a June 7 trespassing case which Troyke interjected himself into, library surveillance footage of the June 7 incident and Troyke’s own cell phone recording of the same interaction.

Regarding the new documents, Arvada Police Department Public Information Officer Dave Snelling said that the national narrative around policing contributed to Troyke’s ideology and subsequent actions.

“It’s obvious that the suspect took to heart multiple media reports referencing the Arvada Police Department and sadly acted out on those. I think there’s a clear connection between the national narrative and his willingness to act on his version of it,” said Snelling.

“It’s obvious that there’s a lot of components to the suspects motives, mental health probably being one of the primary concerns that needs to be addressed on a state or national level,” Snelling continued.

Sovereign citizen

Letters written by Troyke in the lead up the events of June 21 make repeated mention to the Sovereign Citizen movement, a group defined by the Southern Poverty Law Center as those who, “believe that they – not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials – should decide which laws to obey and which to ignore.”

One letter written by Troyke was titled “Sociopath Sovereign Citizens,” and another “Sovereign Citizens.”

The “Sovereign Citizens” letter, which appears to have been written on the day of the shooting reads, in part;

“I dedicate the killing of A.P.D. to AurorA (sic) P.D. since there (sic) in the limelight. I’ve been fooled most of my life as to really what kind of people you really are and I’ve came to a conclusion you government people you sociopaths that wear that bade (sic) and those we never see that work behind the scenes. You are exactly the same people you arrest...

“Do you understand sovereign citizens. We the people were never your enemy. But we are NOW. As you can see here today. You brought this on yourselves…

He says in another part: “Today I will Die I will be a Hero in the eyes of millions for killings pigs I did what I did because I cant believe what you pigs get away with."

The other letter, entitled “Sociopath Sovereign Citizens,” seems to have been written in the lead up to the shooting and left at Troyke’s apartment to be found when officers searched his home.

It begins by saying that he wished he had bomb-making knowledge so he could have booby-trapped his residence for when the police arrived. 

The letter reads, in part;

"The people have had enough. Do you understand AurorA P.D seems to be the troubled police agency in Colorado. So once again I dedicate what I did to AurorAPD especially those officer involved in the killing and mocking of Elijah McClain, also the drunken pig. My DUI changed my life. No accountable the way its always been. I also dedicate my actions to Arvada P.D. officers another coward pig. I seen what he did to”

June 7 incident

In June of this year Christopher Michael Peterson was arrested for trespassing outside of the Arvada Library by APD Officer Sterling Boom. During Peterson’s arrest, Troyke approached Boom and two other APD officers responding to the call and was “filming the officers and yelling at them,” according to the arrest report;

“Officers were speaking to Christopher and attempting to identify him when an unidentified male began filming officers and yelling at them. I attempted to have a conversation with the male, but he continued to yell at me, so I ignored him instead. Christopher was eventually identified after providing a false name and date of birth and he was cleared through dispatch.”

Peterson was later served a municipal summons and banned from the library for six months.

Troyke’s cell phone video footage shows the interaction with APD officers during Peterson’s arrest, and includes an exchange with one of the officers where the officer begins filming Troyke with his cell phone, to which Troyke says he will file a Freedom of Information Act request;

“Troyke: I’m gonna film you guys, because you’re sovereign citizens, that’s why I’m filming you. Every movement a sovereign citizen makes, every word they speak needs to be filmed. Cause you guys are terrible people. Not all of you’s are, but there’s too many that aren’t no good so we have to assume all of you’s are bad. I figured that would be – don’t speak to me – that don’t mean nothing, everything disappears you guys don’t have body cams why is that? Are you guys special?

Arvada Police Officer: We’re actually in the works of getting them.

Troyke: Well you’ve waited too long for that. You’re soveren citizens, there’s no way to explain a police officer –

APD: I’m not a sovereign citizen.

Troyke: You’re sovereign citizens, I’ve seen it with my own eyes. You do all the things to people you don’t want done to yourself, and we’re supposed to appreciate your kind.

The library surveillance footage show Troyke repeatedly engaging APD officers during Peterson’s arrest, but do not include audio.

Source material

Note one 

Note two

Olde Town shooting, Ronald Troyke, Sovereign Citizen movement, Arvada Police Department, Gordon Beesley, Ryan Dunn


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