BOULDER, Colo. — Emergency responders and the public came out to pay their respects at a procession Wednesday afternoon for Eric Talley, the Boulder police officer who was killed in the mass shooting Monday, along with nine others.
The Boulder Police Department said Talley's body was transported from the coroner's office to a funeral home in Aurora.
Those wanting to honor his memory lined up along the west side of Foothills Parkway between Pearl Street and S. Boulder, where the procession began.
One of those who came out to line the procession route is a former officer.
“I know what it’s like to run towards danger, you know,” said Jeanine, a former police officer. “And, you know, he paid the ultimate price for our community. It’s heartbreaking. And I wish to God that our Congress would do something about gun control. It’s not OK for us not to feel safe in our communities."
“We just want to make sure they know we’re here,” said high school senior Jai Bergstein, who was holding a thin blue line flag alongside the procession route. “Make sure they know we’re supporting them.”
“It’s just like this mixed thing – how can it be beautiful and serendipitous, yet so tragic?” said Boulder teacher Katie Fitzcallaghan.
Fitzcallaghan and her friends feel lucky they took a wrong turn Wednesday.
“We were bringing flowers to the memorial, and we took a wrong turn,” said Monica Boykoff. “We didn’t know this was happening, so we feel blessed that we got to be here for it.”
From Boulder, the procession traveled onto U.S. 36 to Aurora.
Talley was identified on Monday evening as one of the people who had died in the shooting, just hours after a gunman arrived at a King Soopers and opened fire. Ten people died in the shooting and a suspect was arrested.
On Tuesday, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said Talley, 51, was the first to respond to the scene. He has seven children, she said.
"He loved this community," Herold said. "He's everything policing deserves and needs. He cared about this community, he cared about Boulder Police Department, and he cared about his family. And he was willing to die to protect others."
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said Talley was one of the many outstanding members of Boulder County's law enforcement.
"He died charging into the line of fire to save people who were simply trying to live their lives and go food shopping," he said.