ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The deadly mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store hits close to home. One of the victims, Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley grew up in Albuquerque. One of Talley’s classmates from Highland High said he’s not surprised to hear that Talley became a police officer because he was a person of great character.

“He was just a genuinely a funny guy,” said former Highland High classmate, Kerry O’Bryant. O’Bryant knew Talley when they grew up together in Albuquerque as they went from Whittier Elementary to Wilson Middle School and then on to Highland High School where they graduated in 1988.

“He had an excellent sense of humor,” recalled O’Bryant. “He was always smiling, he was always joking around,” O’Bryant said they played soccer together and in class, Talley’s presence was unforgettable.

“In every class he was in he was extremely intelligent,” said O’Bryant. “But he was also a person of excellent character, so it does not surprise me at all he went into police work because he was always a person of excellent integrity.”

After high school, Talley got married, had seven kids, and joined Boulder Police in 2010. “I would imagine he was an outstanding police officer just for his ability to break tension, lighten the mood,” said O’Bryant. “He had a genuine affection and affinity for people that probably served him well in his police work.”

The Boulder community is honoring Talley for his bravery after he was the first to respond to reports of an active shooter at the King Soopers grocery store. He rushed to confront the gunman. Officer Talley was one of the ten people who died.

Boulder’s Police Chief said Talley’s quick response no doubt saved lives. That bravery is recognized by local leaders here as well. “He was there when that community needed and jumped into harm’s way to save lives,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.

O’Bryant wants his friend to be remembered as someone who was truly loved by the people who knew him. “I know that you say that about anybody or anytime you lose someone you love and care about you say ‘oh everyone loved him’ but with Eric, it was true,” said O’Bryant.

Officer Talley’s family said he had been interested in becoming a drone operator for the department because it was safer. Talley’s former classmates started a GoFundMe to help raise money for his family.