As the Boulder community marks the somber, one-year anniversary of the fatal shooting at a King Soopers that claimed the lives of ten, the heroic example of Officer Eric Talley continues to resound.
“He knew people were dying. He was the first officer on the scene and courageously did what he had been trained to do. He saved lives,” said Boulder Police Sgt. Adrian Drelles, Talley’s supervisor, at a memorial service for his friend last year. “From the time Eric entered the store and confronted the suspect, no other civilian was hurt.”
Through his quick, courageous response during the March 22, 2021 shooting, Officer Talley saved lives even at the cost of his own. In this way, Officer Talley loved with the love of Christ, asserted Father Daniel Nolan, also of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, assistant pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
“I would argue Officer Talley’s life was not taken, it was given — he gave it,” Father Nolan said. “It was love that enabled Officer Talley to do this. He loved his fellow man, he loved strangers he’d never met … he loved his family, his faith, Our Lord.
“Our Lord challenges his followers … don’t love others with your strength, your soul, your mind. Love them with mine. ‘This is the commandment I give to you: Love one another as I have loved you’” (John 15:12).
Talley’s funeral and memorial services drew hundreds and were preceded by long processions of law enforcement vehicles. His wife Leah felt uplifted by the outpouring of support and prayers following her husband’s death.
“Eric was always a hero to me, but now everybody else knows he was a hero,” she said.
One year later, the challenge to live this courageous, self-giving love holds true. “Jesus has told us ‘greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life,’ and Eric lived that,” Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila said at Talley’s funeral Mass last year. “In … testimonies from other officers, it was evident that he was a man of God, one who put Christ first in his life. When we too do this, we promote deeper conversion of hearts so that our lives are characterized by the virtue of charity, which allows us to love God and our neighbor, strengthening the fabric of society and preventing senseless acts of violence such as this one.”