Manager of Army Navy Surplus shares detailed account of Olde Town shooting, Good Samaritan’s heroic actions

Local News

The scene of a shooting in Olde Town Arvada on June 21, 2021. (Credit: KDVR)

ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — The manager of the Army Navy Surplus shared a detailed account Wednesday of the Olde Town Arvada shooting from earlier this week in an open letter posted on Facebook.

Stephen Cohen posted the letter on Wednesday afternoon, sharing his version of what happened Monday.

“However, the story I wanted to tell is of John Hurley from Golden. Currently he is identified as the Samaritan or citizen that died in the Olde Town shooting. I wanted to let people and his family know what a hero he was. While I did not personally know John, I did recognize him as a somewhat regular customer,” shared Cohen.

Cohen went on to describe the moment shots could be heard at the Army Navy Surplus and the actions of the Good Samaritan.

“Within under a minute upon John entering the store, 10-15 shots of what sounded like a rifle or tactical shotgun were fired in the square 50 yards away. Upon hearing these shots, John and another unknown customer unrelated to John went out of the open door toward the square with clear intent to eliminate the threat. While the unknown customer turned left to assess the situation without pulling out a weapon, John ran quickly without hesitation straight toward the shooter,” shared Cohen.

Here is Cohen’s full account of what happened:

I want to offer my deepest condolences to the Beesley family. Arvada Police are truly one of the best forces in the nation and Officer Beesley was one of the best of the best as an officer and citizen. As a regular face in Olde Town whether he was dealing with a thief in our store or waving at the children in the square, the moment you met him you knew he was someone you were happy to have as a guardian of the community, and someone you wanted to get to know better. It was obvious Officer Beesley had a huge compassionate heart and was one of those rare people that you could trust upon only a brief encounter. Again, I offer my deepest condolences and prayers for his family, friends, the Arvada Police department and all else who knew him.

However, the story I wanted to tell is of John Hurley from Golden. Currently he is identified as the Samaritan or citizen that died in the Olde Town shooting. I wanted to let people and his family know what a hero he was. While I did not personally know John, I did recognize him as a somewhat regular customer. John pulled into our parking lot around 1:30 and was contemplatively smoking a cigarette near his car. When he finished his cigarette, he slowly walked into our store. Within under a minute upon John entering the store, 10-15 shots of what sounded like a rifle or tactical shotgun were fired in the square 50 yards away. Upon hearing these shots, John and another unknown customer unrelated to John went out of the open door toward the square with clear intent to eliminate the threat. While the unknown customer turned left to assess the situation without pulling out a weapon, John ran quickly without hesitation straight toward the shooter.

What happened after this is unclear and under investigation. However, an eyewitness says that the suspect briefly went out of view behind the library after firing the initial 10-15 shots. John shouted at onlookers behind him to stay inside and hide because the gunman was coming back. John used this as an opportunity to run towards the library where the shooter was and hide behind a brick wall.

Upon the shooter walking again back toward the square, John pulled out his concealed pistol and shot 5-6 rounds toward the suspect. Exactly how both John and the suspect died remain unclear. I want to thank and recognize John as I believe that his actions saved more lives from being taken. He needs to be recognized by Arvada and all the citizens of Colorado for his brave and selfless actions. He went selflessly into harm’s way when the shooter had clear intent to continue his murderous spree. Upon talking to some of his friends and coworkers, they are not at all surprised by his heroic actions. They even recall conversations with Johnny about what they would each do in a situation such as this. His friends say Johnny was fully aware of all the dangers about getting involved. Johnny clearly stated that he would without a doubt sacrifice himself to save others. This week Johnny did exactly what he said he was going to do in the most dangerous and extreme of situations.

While I will never fully comprehend what led up to this the gunman’s actions, I am reassured that there are people like Johnny who will give their life for strangers. The thought that out of the dozen or so people in the shop at the time, not just one but two civilians ran out to almost eminent danger makes me see other people in a new light. While we may not like the one who cut us off on the road, or the neighbor with different political views, remember that there is a possibility that this person can be like John and will sacrifice themselves for us when true danger lurks.

I again want to offer my condolences to Officer Beesley’s and John Hurley’s families and friends. We lost two heroes this week and I hope their service to the community and heroic actions will not be forgotten.

Stephen Cohen, Army Navy Surplus

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss