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mass shooting Police officer and dad-of-seven killed in Colorado supermarket shooting ‘was looking for new job’

  • Shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left 10 people dead
  • Suspect injured in the violence was arrested
  • Shooting unfolded at about 3pm in supermarket

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This photo tweeted by the Boulder Police Department late Monday, March 22, 2021, shows Officer Eric Talley. Police say multiple people have been killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., including Talley. (Boulder Police Department via AP)

This photo tweeted by the Boulder Police Department late Monday, March 22, 2021, shows Officer Eric Talley. Police say multiple people have been killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., including Talley. (Boulder Police Department via AP)

This photo tweeted by the Boulder Police Department late Monday, March 22, 2021, shows Officer Eric Talley. Police say multiple people have been killed in a shooting at a supermarket in Boulder, Colo., including Talley. (Boulder Police Department via AP)

A US police officer killed in a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket on Monday had seven children and had been looking for a new job in order to protect his family, his father said.

The shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left nine other people dead while a suspect injured in the violence was arrested, authorities told a news conference late on Monday. Officer Eric Talley was the first on the scene, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, lauding his intervention as "heroic."

Police gave few immediate details of the latest shooting and no known motive for the violence, which unfolded at about 3 p.m. at a King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, a north-central Colorado city at the eastern foot of the Rockies, about 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Denver.

Frantic shoppers and employees fled for cover through the supermarket as law enforcement officers swarmed the scene, located about 2 miles from the University of Colorado's flagship campus.

Sarah Moonshadow, 42, a customer and Boulder resident who was in the store with her son, Nicholas, recounted scenes of pandemonium as gunfire rang out from inside the store.

"We were at the checkout, and shots just started going off," Moonshadow told Reuters. "And I said, 'Nicholas get down.' And Nicholas ducked. And we just started listening and there, just repetitive shots ... and I just said, 'Nicholas, run.'"

Moonshadow said she tried to go to the aid of a victim she saw lying on the pavement just outside the store, but her son pulled her away, telling her, 'We have to go.'" The woman broke down in sobs, adding, "I couldn't help anybody."

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People are led out of a King Soopers grocery store after a shooting in the store (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio/AP)

People are led out of a King Soopers grocery store after a shooting in the store (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio/AP)

People are led out of a King Soopers grocery store after a shooting in the store (Hart Van Denburg/Colorado Public Radio/AP)

Police officer Talley, 51, had joined the police just over a decade ago and had been looking to eventually find a new line of work, his father Homer said in a statement issued to local media.

"He was looking for a job to keep himself off of the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn't want to put his family through something like this," Homer Talley said.

"He had seven children. The youngest is seven-years-old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything."

A woman named Kirstin said on Twitter that Eric Talley was her older brother.

"My heart is broken. I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many. Fly high my sweet brother," she wrote in a post that included a photo of them as young children.

Amid an outpouring of grief, a man named Jeremy Herko who said he'd met Talley at "the academy," described him as one of his best friends.

"He was a devout Christian, he had to buy a 15-passenger van to haul all his kids around, and he was the nicest guy in the world," Herko wrote in a Facebook post.

The Boulder Police Department tweeted a photo of Talley in uniform. "Rest In peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten," the department said.

Talley was featured in a 2013 article as one of three police officers who helped save ducks stuck in a drainage ditch.

He waded into calf-deep water to rescue the ducks from the pipes, according to the article in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.

Talley is the sixth on-duty death in the Boulder Police Department's history and the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1994, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

"He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers at the Boulder Police Department and his life was cut far too short," said Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney.

The bloodshed in Boulder marked the second deadly U.S. mass shooting in a week, following gun violence last week that left eight people dead in the wider Atlanta area. A 21-year-old man has been charged with those killings.

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Reuters


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