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BOULDER, Colorado, March 29, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — In the midst of the tragedy of the Boulder shooting, the example and memory of Eric Talley shines bright, now not just to those who knew him, but to the world.

Talley, a fallen Colorado police officer, is being widely praised as a hero for having plunged into the scene of the Boulder market shooting before other officers arrived. His family and colleagues affirm that this was simply in keeping with how he lived his life, as a man who poured himself out for others.

“I honestly know my brother, when he heard there was a shooting in a supermarket, I know his first thought was, ‘There are kids in there’,” Talley’s sister, Kirstin Brooks told the Washington Post. “He loved his kids. His family shopped at King Soopers,” she said, referring to the market where the shooting occurred.

“I know Eric would have wanted to save every single one of those lives. I know why he flew in there first, because he was thinking, there are families in that store.”

Father Dave Nix, an ex-paramedic who shares several mutual friends with Talley, seconds Brooks’ thoughts. “I think he went in without coverage because he knew there were civilians that were going to die,” he told LifeSiteNews.

By all accounts, Talley’s heroic death is an extension of who he was as a person. His family and friends paint the picture of a man totally devoted to his job, to his family, and to God.

“He died as he lived: a protector and provider, going above and beyond,” said Fr. Nix.

“I think he wasn’t just a good man, I think he was a hero — and extremely, extremely, virtuous,” Fr. Nix continued. “I’ve been getting texts from all over the nation saying how virtuous he was.”
In the wake of his death, glowing praise of Talley is pouring from virtually everyone who knew him — from his family, to his colleagues, to his former classmates.

Talley’s sister, Kirstin Brooks, described Talley as protective even from a young age. She says he took the blame when she got in trouble as a kid, and defended her when she got picked on in school, the Washington Post reported.

More recently, Brooks said her brother would “often call and check in” with her, “reminding her to take care of herself.”

His sister said that Talley, his wife and his seven children were “a good, sweet, tight, close family.” The mother homeschools their children, who traveled with their parents in a 15-passenger van bought by Talley so that they could be comfortable on the road, according to Jeremy Herko, a lieutenant with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.

Herko told the Washington Post that when he last spoke to Talley, on Sunday, he had sent him a picture of his family playing a board game that Talley had recommended. 

Talley’s mother was emotional as she told KOAT, “He would call me on the way to work, and on the way home. He loved his family and his job. He loves his wife.”

“He loved his kids and his family more than anything,” his father, Homer Talley, told Denver TV station KMGH.

Talley’s former classmates also warmly remember Talley as a loving person. Kerry O’Bryant, who was a friend of Talley’s in middle school and high school, told the Albuquerque Journal, “I think one of the recurring themes that I’ve heard from our mutual friends is that if there was anyone who was potentially going to be able to go in and defuse a bad situation, it was him – because he was such a lovable person.”

“I know everyone says nice things about somebody after they pass away, but I’m telling you the truth: he was the most liked person in our class. He wasn’t necessarily Mr. Jock or Mr. Popularity or whatever, but everybody liked Eric. There was nobody who didn’t,” O’Bryant continued.

Another former classmate of Talley’s, Rob Sobak, said: “When I read the stories of how he had helped people as an officer, I recognized Eric in those stories. Him being patient and kind, and generous. He was a gentle soul.”

According to Talley’s friends and family, he had previously worked in IT, until one of his closest friends died in 2010 in a DUI crash. Talley then quit his IT job and enrolled in the police academy at age 40.

“It was remarkable to me that somebody would go to law enforcement from IT,” Herko said. “He lost pay. He lost time away from his family. He joined the police academy without a guaranteed job.”

Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said in a tribute to Talley, He didn’t have to go into policing. He had a profession before this. But he felt a higher calling. He loved this community. And he’s everything that policing deserves and needs…. he was willing to die to protect others.”

“I had that officer’s whole family in my office two weeks ago to give him an award,” Herold continued.

“The last years as a police officer, the hatred made his job so much harder. But he didn’t stop,” Talley’s mother told KOAT.

Family, friends, and acquaintances of Talley reveal he was deeply devoted not just to his family and to his work, but to his Catholic faith.

“He was a strong Catholic. Of deep faith,” Talley’s mother told KOAT.

One woman who met him twice at Church remembers him as having a “beautifully friendly smile” and explained that he would attend the Traditional Latin Mass “as often as he could” on weekdays, in addition to attending on Sundays. 

A funeral for Talley will be celebrated on Monday, March 29 at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver. It will be a solemn high Mass offered in the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite, according to an announcement. The capacity of the cathedral has been set to 175, due to COVID-19 regulations. 

LifeSiteNews has launched a fundraising appeal to support the family of Officer Eric Talley. Donate here.