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The first officer who responded to Boulder shooting scene was killed. He leaves behind seven children

Officer Eric Talley was the first officer to report to the scene of a mass shooting at a grocery store in Boulder, Colorado, on Monday — and it’s where the father of seven died after actions that were described as “heroic” by officials.

The member of the Boulder Police Department was one of 10 people fatally shot at the King Soopers store. Officials did not disclose the names of the other victims.

Talley, 51, leaves behind a widow and his seven children, the oldest who is 20, his father Homer Talley told CNN affiliate KUSA.

“He loved his family more than anything,” Homer Talley said in a phone interview.

His son joined the police force when he was 40 years old, Homer Talley told KUSA. “Didn’t surprise me he was the first one there,” he said.

According to KUSA, the father said the officer had recently been looking into becoming a drone operator because he believed it was safer.

Homer Talley said his son was a prankster with a “great sense of humor,” the affiliate reported.

Talley is the first officer from the Boulder police department to be killed in the line of duty since 1994 and the sixth on-duty death in the department’s history, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

He was the first on scene

Talley arrived on scene just minutes after the first 911 calls came in reporting shots fired around 2:30 p.m. local time, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told reporters during a press conference Monday night.

“I have to tell you the heroic action of this officer when he responded to the scene,” the chief said, adding that Talley responded after “a phone call about a possible person with a patrol rifle.”

“Officer Talley responded to the scene, was first on the scene, and he was fatally shot,” Herold said.

The fallen officer “served in numerous roles supporting the Boulder Police Department and the community of Boulder,” the chief told reporters.

He was remembered as “one of the outstanding officers” by the county’s district attorney.

“My heart goes out to Eric Talley’s family, his loved ones, and his colleagues,” Boulder District Attorney Michael Dougherty said. “He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department, and his life was cut far too short, as he responded to the shooting that was taking place at King Soopers.”

Multiple law enforcement agencies held a rolling vigil in Talley’s honor Monday night.

Investigation will take days

A suspect was taken into custody in the deadly shooting, Dougherty said. At an earlier press conference, Boulder Police Commander Kerry Yamaguchi said a person taken into custody was injured during the incident and taken to a hospital.

A motive has also not yet been established, Yamaguchi said, adding that it is part of the ongoing investigation.

One senior law enforcement source told CNN the weapon used in the shooting was an AR-15 style rifle.

Local, state and federal partners are all working on the investigation into the shooting, along with prosecutors from the US Attorney’s Office “to ensure that justice is done,” Dougherty told reporters.

“I promise the victims and the people of the state of Colorado, that we will secure justice and do everything we must do to get justice in this case, in order for that to happen, a painstaking investigation is already underway, both at the crime scene and in interviews to make sure we receive all the accurate information,” the district attorney said.

“For all the victims who were killed at King Soopers, these were people going about their day, doing their food shopping, and their lives were cut abruptly and tragically short by the shooter, who is now in custody,” Dougherty added.

Officials react to deadly shooting

Officials in Colorado reacted to the deadly shooting with statements of condolence and gratitude Monday night.

“Today we saw the face of evil. I am grieving with my community and all Coloradans,” Governor Jared Polis said in a statement Monday night.

“Today, ten lives were tragically lost, including Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley,” the governor said. “Officer Talley served more than ten years with the Boulder Police Department and tragically lost his life at the age of 51 while working to save the lives of others,”

“And tonight, the families of these victims, our fellow Coloradans, my neighbors, are hearing the devastating news that their loved one who simply woke up and went to work this morning, or who ran out to pick up eggs, won’t be coming home,” Polis continued.

“Our community anxiously awaits more information on the victims, hoping it’s not our friends, coworkers and neighbors but knowing in our tight knit community it will be, and even if we don’t personally know them, we all mourn their senseless killing and our sense of safety in our local grocery store,” the governor said.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement that he was angered by the shooting.

“I’m deeply saddened and angered with the news of another tragic shooting in Colorado,” Weiser said. “I’m thinking of all our fellow Coloradans in Boulder who were affected by the unspeakable violence that occurred at King Soopers on Table Mesa.”

“As we learn more about the incident, I’m thankful for the brave law enforcement officials and first responders who are assisting victims, securing the scene, and putting themselves in harm’s way.” Weiser added, noting that his officer is ready to help in any way they can.

The shooting Monday was at least the sixth mass killing — defined as when four or more people are fatally shot — in the US this year.

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