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MUNCIE, Ind. – Ball State University confirmed the police officer killed in the mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store graduated from the school.

Boulder police officer Eric Talley earned two degrees from Ball State University from spring of 1997 to the spring of 2004.  Even after all these years, Dr. Frank Groom still calls Talley one of his top students.  

“Eric was one of the leaders of the class. He was very mature at the time,” said Dr. Frank Groom, professor at Ball State University.

Dr. Frank Groom teaches at BSU’s Center for Information and Communication Sciences. When Groom heard what happened in Boulder, he was shocked. Then as the tragedy unfolded and names were released, the heartbreak hit home.

“You never think it’s someone of your own and of course, he is Ball State’s Eric,” said Groom.

After college, Talley got a job in Information Technology. He reportedly left that well-paying career when he lost a friend in a DUI crash and that’s when he decided to become an officer.

“I’m not surprised he decided to work in the community in a later part of his life,” said Dr. Groom.

Officer Talley was one of the first on scene at the Boulder King Soopers store when a gunman opened fire.  Officer Talley died saving the lives of others.

“There’s also a lot of pride. Ball State has a commitment to the community. They’re extremely, extremely proud of Eric,” said Dr. Groom.

A bright student who became a brave police officer.  Dr. Groom is a proud professor who promises Talley’s sacrifice won’t be forgotten and his story will be told to future Ball State students.

“His family is going to miss him. The community is going to miss him. The police are going to miss him, and Ball State is going to miss him too,” said Groom.

Governor Eric Holcomb has ordered flags across the state to fly at half-staff to honor Officer Talley and the other nine victims.

BSU officials are working on details of ways to honor Officer Talley.