Hundreds line Boulder roadway in farewell bid to officer killed in mass shooting

Residents, officers and other first responders gathered to honor Officer Eric Talley's funeral procession

By Kelsey Hammon
Daily Times-Call, Longmont, Colo.

BOULDER, Colo. — When a hearse carrying Boulder police Officer Eric Talley's body swept past a crowd lining Foothills Parkway on Wednesday, many wiped tears from their eyes or formed hearts with their hands.

Talley was killed in the line of duty on Monday in the mass shooting at King Soopers. The procession Wednesday ferried his body from the Boulder County Coroner's Office to a funeral home in Aurora, according to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management.

Officer Eric Talley
Officer Eric Talley (Boulder Police Department)

Talley, 51, was the first officer to arrive on scene at 3600 Table Mesa Drive, after an armed gunman had been reported at the store. Talley was one of 10 people killed that day. In a news release that night, Boulder police Chief Maris Herold called Talley's actions "heroic."

Close to 100 people lined the west side of the road between Pearl Parkway and South Boulder Road to watch the procession of police cars zip by with the hearse in the middle of the flashing red and blue lights.

Talley was a father of seven. He had served the Boulder Police Department for 10 years.

Boulder police Officer Roth, who asked that her first name not be used, was among those lining the road. Roth said she worked with Talley. Roth said she knew Talley as someone who loved to drink Mountain Dew and, perhaps as a result, had tremendous amount of energy.

Talley was the type to drop whatever he was doing to help his colleagues, she said.

"He was such a good man and a wonderful friend," Roth said. "I think many have said it, but he had a wonderful sense of humor and just cared about people more than himself. It's hard to talk about. He impacted everyone in our department in some way."

Wearing a Thin Blue Line shirt and standing near a truck with a flapping flag in the same colors of black and blue was Rebecca Rademacher. Despite having had only a few hours' sleep after working an overnight shift at her place of business, Rademacher, of Longmont, traveled with her three children to pay their respects to the fallen officer.

"It's very emotional what the cops are going through," Rademacher said. "It's heartbreaking. When one of them goes down, I want to show our support."

Rademacher was moved by Talley's bravery during what is believed to be the largest mass shooting in Boulder County history..

"He was the first one to go in," she said. "He was not afraid. He's a father of seven and it's just amazing to me that there was a call for help and he was the first one to go. That's what he held the badge for. That's what his job was."

Boulder resident Maggie McClure, who was among those standing alongside the road, echoed this.

"He just went in without giving it any second thought," she said.

McClure said she wanted to make sure support for Talley was visible.

"I want his family and fellow officers to know how much they're supported," she said, "because I know they don't always feel that way."

Talley's body was carried from the King Soopers to the coroner's office in a procession on Monday night. Since then, people have gathered to in front of the Boulder Police Department to lay flowers on an ever-growing bouquet pile on the hood of a police car. For those who lined the road Wednesday to pay their respects to Talley, the earlier tributes to the officer are one indication of the degree to which Talley left a positive impression on Boulder County .

"He was the type of guy that would just give you the shirt off his back," Roth said. "He would literally drop what he was doing to help you with whatever you needed."

(c)2021 the Daily Times-Call (Longmont, Colo.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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