MUNCIE, Ind.– Ball State University confirmed Tuesday that the officer killed in the shooting at a Colorado supermarket that left 10 people dead graduated from the school.
The university issued a statement saying, “We mourn the death of Eric Talley, the Boulder police officer who was murdered yesterday. Officer Talley, who earned two degrees from Ball State, was a hero who died saving the lives of other people. Today, we honor Officer Talley and his family, friends, and fellow officers.”
Officer Eric Talley was a student at BSU from the spring of 1997 to the spring of 2004. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and a Master of Science in Information Communication Sciences.
Talley was one of the first to arrive on scene Monday and died after a shootout with the suspect.
Indiana Senator Mike Braun said on social media Tuesday that Talley, “ran bravely toward the sound of gunfire and gave his life to save others.”
The Ball State University Police Department also posted a tribute on their Facebook page, stating, “Officer Talley left a stable, well paid IT job when he heard the call to serve his fellow man. Officer Talley was the first officer on scene and ran into a tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situation. He paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Washington Post reports that Talley joined the police academy at age 40 after losing a friend in a DUI crash. He reportedly left behind a lucrative career in Information Technology and a master’s degree to become an officer.
The BSU Center for Information and Communication Sciences issued this statement:
Please join us in mourning the loss of a CICS alum gone too soon and leaving behind a family who is forever changed. Our hearts ache for those who he left behind. As a first responder in Boulder yesterday, Officer Talley is rightfully being called a hero, we echo that completely and mourn this tragic loss deeply.
“For years, Eric Talley had a stable job in information technology that provided for his children and his wife, who educated their seven children in their Colorado home.
But in 2010, after one of his closest friends died in a DUI crash, he quit, left behind his master’s degree and enrolled in the police academy at 40 years old, according to his friends and family.
“It was remarkable to me that somebody would go to law enforcement from IT,” Jeremy Herko, who is now a lieutenant with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, told The Washington Post. “He lost pay. He lost time away from his family. He joined the police academy without a guaranteed job.”
Talley, 51, had been with the Boulder Police Department (BPD) department since 2010.
BPD announced Tuesday that the suspect is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder in the mass shooting at a King Soopers grocery store.
Police also identified the nine other victims, who ranged in age from 20 to 65.
Officers were initially called to the King Soopers store Monday over reports of a man shot in his vehicle. When officers arrived the suspect began shooting at them, police said.
Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said the suspect was undergoing treatment at a hospital, and was expected to be booked into the county jail later Tuesday.
Investigators don’t know yet why the suspect opened fire inside the grocery store, Dougherty said. He said the investigation is in the early stages.
Talley is survived by his wife and seven children.