Talley, 51, was one of 10 people killed on March 22 in the country’s second mass shooting in less than a month. The father of seven was the first officer to run into the neighborhood store and almost immediately confronted the gunman.
He died along with shoppers and employees as dozens of others ran from the store and scores of armored law enforcement officers broke the building’s windows and landed helicopters on the roof.
A private memorial for Talley, an 11-year veteran of the Boulder police force, was held Monday at Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. Hundreds of people gathered to remember the devout Catholic, including dozens of police officers, according to the Denver Post. An additional 1,400 watched the service online.
Colorado has a history of mass shootings. In 2012, a dozen people were killed and 70 were injured after a shooter opened fire on a sold-out screening of Batman at an Aurora movie theater. In 1999, 12 students and a teacher were killed at Columbine High School and 20 others were injured.
More than a decade before the shooting, Talley had a stable job in information technology that provided for his kids and his wife, who educated their children in their Colorado home. But in 2010, after one of his closest friends died in a DUI crash, he quit, left behind his master’s degree and enrolled in the police academy at age 40, according to his friends and family.
“It was remarkable to me that somebody would go to law enforcement from IT,” Jeremy Herko, a lieutenant with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, told The Washington Post. “He lost pay. He lost time away from his family. He joined the police academy without a guaranteed job.”
Talley’s sister Kirstin Brooks, detailing all the things she said her brother excelled at — he had a black belt in karate, he was an “extremely fast” runner, he “once made a little engine out of a racecar” — said he was “just talented and gifted and loved.”