The ‘heroic’ police officer gunned down in a mass shooting was a dad of seven who ‘will never be forgotten’.
Officer Eric Talley, 51, was killed after a gunman opened fire in a horrifying massacre at a supermarket car park in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.
Boulder Police Department identified the slain officer as one of their own hours after the brutal shooting that left nine other people dead.
Police Chief Maris Herold said Officer Talley was one of the first to respond to a 911 call from the grocery store and came across the suspect, said to be armed with a high-powered rifle.
Paying tribute, the police chief said: “I’m grateful for the police officers that responded and I am so sorry about the loss of Officer Talley.”
A statement from Boulder Police Department added: “Rest In peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten.”
Eric Talley, a dad-of seven, had been with the Boulder PD since 2010.
His dad, Homer Talley, gave a statement to ABC News in the wake of his son’s death.
“He took his job as a police officer very seriously,” his father said. “He had seven children. The youngest is 7 years old.
“He loved his kids and his family more than anything.”
He added that the late officer joined the police force when he was 40 and had started training to be a drone operator.
In poignant scenes a procession was also held as colleagues escorted an ambulance carrying the body to a funeral home on Monday night.
Devastated officers and members of the public stood at roadsides and saluted as the escort passed by just hours after the shooting.
US Senator for Colorado Michael Bennet also paid his respects via social media and said: “My heart goes out to the families of the Coloradans, including a Boulder police officer, whose lives were tragically taken by a senseless act of gun violence.
“I am deeply grateful for the swift response from law enforcement and first responders. Enough is enough.”
A suspect has since been arrested in connection with the brutal killings, one of the deadliest in recent years.
None of the other nine victims have yet been named by local police.
The shooting is the deadliest in the US since a massacre in May 2019 left 12 dead along with the shooter.
Just last week eight people died after multiple shootings as parlours and spas in and around the US city of Atlanta.