Two vigils were held in Arvada following the June 21 shooting in Olde Town Square that claimed the lives of Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley and Johnny Hurley. Peace Lutheran Church held a prayer …
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Two vigils were held in Arvada following the June 21 shooting in Olde Town Square that claimed the lives of Arvada Police Officer Gordon Beesley and Johnny Hurley. Peace Lutheran Church held a prayer vigil honoring Officer Beesley on June 22 and the Shrine of St. Anne Catholic Church hosted a vigil remembering both Beesley and Hurley on June 24.
The Arvada community came together to grieve in droves, with over 700 people attending the vigil at Peace Lutheran and over 400 filling St. Anne’s later in the week.
The vigil at Peace Lutheran featured speeches from Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, City Manager Mark Deven and two of Beesley’s co-workers at Oberon Middle School. After the speeches, religious leaders from the community shared thoughts, songs and prayers.
The service at St. Anne’s included speeches from Arvada City Councilmember John Marriott, City Manager Mark Deven and APD Deputy Chief Ed Brady. Similarly to the vigil at Peace Lutheran, the speeches were followed by religious services, including prayers and songs.
“I do not know all of the details of the investigation,” said Brady at the St. Anne’s vigil, “but I do know that Johnny Hurley was a hero and that he saved lives.”
Patti Danford, assistant principal at Oberon Middle school, where Beesley was a School Resource Officer, recalled his bright precense and genuine regard for those around him at the June 24 vigil at Peace Lutheran.
“It was an absolute delight to see his beaming, smiling face every day,” said Danford. “He was always beaming, smiling, always helpful. He’s a truly beloved colleague for us at Oberon. He shined. He was always smiling and positive and making connections with staff members and students and noticing things. And when he asked how you are, he really wanted to know.”
Maryann Peratt, director of judicial services for Jefferson County Schools, said that Beesley truly appreciated the kids he encountered at work.
“He really deeply cared about the kids that he served,” said Peratt at the June 24 vigil at Peace Lutheran.
Arvada Mayor Marc Williams highlighted the importance of the city’s church community in times of tragedy.
“Unfortunately, in times like this,” said Williams, “this is where we need to turn. And we are so grateful to have that we’ve got so many great churches in our community that are a part of the foundation that makes Arvada so special.”
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