Johnny Hurley was an action man who, he knew, he says, never sat back and waited for others—whether it was planning a camping trip, redecorating an airport shuttle bus to an arcade. Lagna, or a town plaza running toward a man in hell to kill police officers.
It was the latter action that took Hurley’s life in Old Town Arvada on 21 June. On Tuesday, his family and friends gathered to tell stories, eat and play video games in celebration of Hurley’s life.
Many friends described Hurley as a dogmatic figure, and although they wished the outcome that day in Old Town had been different, they understood why their friend rushed to confront a shooter who had just hit the ground. Arvada police officer Gordon Beasley was killed in an ambush.
“If you really want to change things, you have to be an example,” said friend Law Johnson. “He is one of those people you need in your life. He is such a nice guy. He became a legend on that sad and unfortunate day.”
Hurley was shot by an Arvada police officer, who was responding to the shooting. Arvada, 40, was preparing for a family camping trip at the Army Navy Surplus Store when gunshots were heard. He had a concealed weapon, so he pulled out his hand and ran towards the shooting.
He killed the gunman, whom investigators have said threatened to kill as many officers as possible, and police hailed Hurley as a “Good Samaritan” and hero.
Separate investigations into Beasley’s murder and Hurley’s police shooting are ongoing.
On Tuesday, the Hurley family held a two-hour memorial service at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities and then at Robbie Ferrufino Park for tacos, pasta, beer, music, video games and even fortune-telling. gathered for a picnic.
He shared memories of Hurley’s life, including how he thoroughly embraced controversial ideas.
He sometimes disagreed with his loved ones, especially his father, who served as a career American diplomat. The two eventually learned to “agree to disagree” on topics like gun control, and “it was very important to us because we were able to grow from there,” their father Michael J. Hurley said.
Michael Hurley had planned to go on a camping trip with his kids Johnny and Erin Hurley this week. Instead, he attended his son’s memorial service.
People say, “He was the right man in the right place,” said Michael Hurley. “I think he was the wrong man in the right place. But I was his father.”
Andy O’Connell brought OC Entertainment’s Retro Cave – an old Denver International Airport shuttle bus that he and Hurley converted into a mobile arcade with vintage video games like “Ms.” Pacman,” “Mortal Kombat II” and Atari’s “Star Wars.” O’Connell said he bought the bus in 2020 with a dream of turning it into an arcade, but the coronavirus pandemic thwarted plans.
But last spring, Hurley pushed her to end it. Together, they wired the bus for games, and Hurley even sewed curtains. Now, Just has a successful small business and O’Connell is grateful that his friend inspired him to do it.
“He loved working with his hands and helping people get things done,” O’Connell said. “He wouldn’t let me be lazy or put it off. He helped me with everything.”
Erin Hurley stood inside the arcade bus, choosing music her brother would accept.
The two were close, bonding over video games, camping and whiskey.
Losing her brother has been devastating, and Erin Hurley tells everyone to call their families and tell them how much she is loved. Tomorrow is not a promise, he said.
The last time they spoke, Johnny Hurley questioned his sister why she brags about him so much.
“He said, ‘I don’t know why you put me on this pedestal. I’m just a normal guy. I’m just your big brother,'” Erin Hurley said. “My response was, ‘Being my big brother. That’s all you need to be.”