Colorado man who fatally shot cop killer was mistakenly slain by police
Crime scene tape (Shutterstock)

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - A Colorado man who fatally shot a gunman who had just killed a police officer was himself slain by a responding officer who apparently mistook him for the cop killer, authorities said on Friday.

Johnny Hurley, 40, was shot while holding a rifle belonging to a 59-year-old man who moments earlier had fatally ambushed police officer Gordon Beesley, police in the Denver suburb of Arvada said in a statement.

Hurley shot Ronald Troyke with a handgun. It was unclear why he picked up the dead man's weapon.

The tragic series of events unfolded on Monday afternoon after Troyke's brother called police saying he feared his sibling was going "to do something crazy," the statement said.

Beesley and another officer went to Troyke's apartment but were unable to locate him. Minutes later Beesley responded to a report of a suspicious man in Arvada's Olde Town Square.

Video footage released by police shows Troyke getting out of a pickup truck with a 12-gauge semiautomatic shotgun and approaching Beesley.

Police said Troyke called out to Beesley, who is seen turning toward the gunman, and the officer was shot twice with no time to take "defensive action." Police did not release video of the actual shooting.

Troyke then shot out windows in nearby patrol cars before running back to his truck and retrieving an AR-15 rifle, police said. He headed back to the plaza, where he was shot by Hurley.

Police also released excerpts from a four-page handwritten manifesto that Troyke left in his apartment, in which he vowed to kill as many police officers "as I possibly can."

"I just hope I don’t die without killing any of you pigs," he wrote, according to police.

Beesley, 51, was a father of two and a 19-year veteran of the police force.

An online fundraiser set up for Hurley's family described him as a "Good Samaritan" and true hero.

The Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office is investigating the incident.

(Reporting by Keith Coffman; Editing by Daniel Wallis)