BOULDER, Colo. — It’s been one year to the day since a gunman entered the Table Mesa King Soopers in Boulder, opening fire and killing 10 people, including a Boulder police officer who responded.
The shootings rocked the college town, which has one of the lowest gun violence rates of any city its size across America.
Officer Eric Talley’s death was extremely difficult for the community, which hadn’t lost an officer in the line of duty in decades.
Denver7’s Russell Haythorn sat down one-on-one with Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold about that day, Officer Talley and lessons learned in the past year.
She said the death of an officer, especially one she knew, made recovery even harder.
“A couple of weeks before this incident, Eric and his family were up in my office, in this conference room right here, getting a life-saving award. And so, I knew of Eric, I talked to him on multiple occasions and this was especially hard. You know, I’ve watched the body worn camera of this incident, he didn't hesitate. And I don't know if you can even train that.”
Herold said she believes Talley saved multiple lives that day.
"His actions, along with the other officers that went in right behind him, are heroic,” Herold said. “No doubt about that."
She said that day, she was sitting in her office, just after a meeting, and received a text.
“And the text said that we had an active shooter at King Soopers," she said. "And we have been getting erroneous texts from our SWAT software and I thought it was a mistake. And so I called our Deputy Chief Carey Weinheimer and I said, ‘I got this strange text.’ And as I'm talking to him, I could hear the shots in the background. And he said, 'You need to get here. We have an active shooter inside of King Soopers.'"
Now, a year later, she said the pain is going away.
“And I think the community feels the same way," she said. "During the reopening of King Soopers, there was a ton of community outpouring at that event, but people were still, you know, visibly upset and emotional. The pain dissipates, and we get to a better place. And we can start thinking about people in a, you know, hopeful and happy remembrance of their lives. And most certainly, I think the police department now is feeling that we just want to remember."
As the community continues to heal, she said she is moving forward with lessons learned from that day.
“Obviously, we've conducted after-action assessments, after-action reports, but I think it's important that a police department get a third-party assessment on everybody's response to that critical incident," Herold said. "And we have to wait until the trial is over to get a full assessment of everybody's role and what worked, what didn't. And so we're going to look at that. What I can tell you from my seat, and I've worked in a bigger city, a midsize city and a much smaller agency, as well, and what I can tell you about our response is I’ve never seen anything like it in my life, where we had other local agencies, the Boulder County Sheriff, the state, the Colorado State Bureau of Investigation, we had the federal agencies, the FBI was here that night with me. I’ve had such an outpouring of support. I've never seen that."
Herold has been in police work for 29 years.
"This is a unique community,” she said. “And they have supported me since I've been here. And I will forever be grateful for that because I don’t think I would have made it without them. I just pray we don't see anything like that ever again.”