Mourners Line Highway in Boulder as Police Procession Escorts Coffin of Slain Officer Eric Talley
Hundreds of people lined a Boulder highway Wednesday to honor fallen Officer Eric Talley, who was one of 10 people killed during a shooting at a local grocery store on Monday afternoon.
Boulder residents, family members, police officers, paramedics and other emergency responders stood alongside Foothills Parkway to salute Officery Talley as a hearse transferred his body from the coroner's office to a funeral home in Aurora, according to the New York Times.
As the hearse drove down the procession route accompanied by other police vehicles, many observers placed their hands over their hearts or waved American flags.
Several other memorials were scheduled for Officer Talley on Wednesday, including a candlelight vigil at the Boulder County Courthouse.
Officer Talley was the first to respond to the grocery store Monday after the department began receiving calls of an active shooter at King Soopers around 2:30 p.m. local time. He was fatally shot at the scene.
Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said during a press conference that Officer Talley had been with the police department since 2010. She called his actions in responding to the incident "heroic."
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Officer Talley had seven children — ages 7 to 20 — and by all accounts was a doting dad. "He's a better father than I was," his father, Homer Talley, told PEOPLE. "He loved his children more than anything else. He was very involved with his kids. He showed them love."
When Homer spoke to his son last week, Officer Talley talked about breezy things such as buying a new vehicle — but the conversation turned serious when he mentioned his fear of being killed in action.
"He was worried about his family," Homer, 74, said. "Being a police officer, he had seen other officers go, and their families suffered because they were killed — and he didn't want to put his family through that. It's kinda ironic less than a week later, his family is going through that. I told him to be careful out there."
The suspected shooter from Monday's attack was identified as 21-year-old Ahmad Alissa of Arvada. According to the arrest affidavit, the suspect allegedly shot at people in cars in the grocery store's parking lot before going into King Soopers and continuing to fire his weapon.
The suspect was taken into custody at the scene of the shooting. He has yet to enter pleas to the charges he faces, which include 10 counts of murder.