ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Boulder Police Officer Eric Talley who was one of 10 victims killed in a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket on Monday graduated from Highland High School in May of 1988. Officer Talley, 51, was one of the first on the scene and had been a member of the Boulder Police Department since 2010.

Eric Talley (courtesy Albuquerque Public Schools)

“He was by all accounts one of the outstanding officers of the Boulder Police Department and his life was cut too short,” said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty. The police department reports that Talley leaves behind seven children ages 5 to 18.

During a news briefing on Tuesday, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold told reporters that Talley’s family was recently in her office as his son received an award. “One of his children swallowed a quarter and because Officer Talley taught his children CPR, one of his children was able to save the little boy’s life,” said Herold.

The other victims ranged in age from 20 to 65 and have been identified as Denny Strong,20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds,25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jodi Waters, 65. First responders joined a procession in Boulder to honor Talley as his body was transported by ambulance.

Police have identified 21-year-old Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa as the suspect who opened fire inside the King Soopers grocery store. He was treated at a hospital and has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and is expected to be booked into the county jail later Tuesday.

At this time, investigators have not established a motive in the shooting but according to Dougherty, authorities believe he was the only shooter. During a news conference Tuesday, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller spoke on the death of Ofc. Talley.

“We just want to express what a tragedy this is and as much as our thoughts and prayers are with that family, we’re grateful to have each and every officer here but also one of our own who took on the challenge to join a police department at the second stage of his life and was there when that community needed and jumped in harm’s way to save lives,” said Keller.

Friends of Talley say he was a great man. “He had an excellent sense of humor, he was always smiling, always joking around,” said childhood friend Kerry O’Byrant.

Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Scott Elder issued the following statement on the Boulder mass shooting:

The entire Albuquerque Public Schools community wishes to express our deepest condolences for the loss of Colorado Police Officer Eric Talley and each of the victims who lost their lives in yesterday’s senseless mass murder.

Officer Talley graduated from Highland High School in 1988. Like so many of our graduates, Officer Talley could have done anything he wanted with his life, and he chose to serve and protect.

In our sadness and grief, I hope we can remember the example Officer Talley leaves us all. We won’t forget Office Talley put others before himself, was dedicated to public service, and by all accounts loved his family deeply.

It is unfathomable to imagine what the survivors of yesterday’s mass shooting and the loved ones of those killed are going through. At this time, prayer, empathy, and kindness seem the most appropriate way to honor all the lives that ended so tragically and abruptly.

Scott Elder 
Superintendent, Albuquerque Public Schools