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Colorado Shooting: who was the murdered police officer?

Officer Eric Talley, 51, the father of seven children, was one of 10 people killed on Monday as a gunman opened fire at a King Soopers outlet in Boulder.

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Colorado Shooting: who was the murdered police officer?
BOULDER POLICE DEPARTMENT / HAND EFE

A US police officer killed in a mass shooting at a Colorado supermarket on Monday had seven children and had been looking for a new job in order to protect his family, his father said.

Further updates on gunman and victims

Colorado shooting: police officer Eric Talley killed

The shooting in Boulder, Colorado, left nine other people dead while a suspect injured in the violence was arrested, authorities told a news conference late on Monday. Officer Eric Talley was the first on the scene, Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold said, lauding his intervention as "heroic."

Talley, 51, had joined the police just over a decade ago and had been looking to eventually find a new line of work, his father Homer said in a statement issued to local media.

"He was looking for a job to keep himself off of the front lines and was learning to be a drone operator. He didn't want to put his family through something like this," Homer Talley said.

"He had seven children. The youngest is seven-years-old. He loved his kids and his family more than anything."

Amid an outpouring of grief, a man named Jeremy Herko who said he'd met Talley at "the academy," described him as one of his best friends.

"He was a devout Christian, he had to buy a 15-passenger van to haul all his kids around, and he was the nicest guy in the world," Herko wrote in a Facebook post.

The devasted sister of Eric Talley posted this message on Twitter:

'Officer Eric Talley is my big brother. He died today in the Boulder shooting. My heart is broken. I cannot explain how beautiful he was and what a devastating loss this is to so many. Fly high my sweet brother. You always wanted to be a pilot (damn color blindness). Soar.'

The Boulder Police Department tweeted a photo of Talley in uniform. "Rest In peace Officer Eric Talley. Your service will never be forgotten," the department said.

Talley was featured in a 2013 article as one of three police officers who helped save ducks stuck in a drainage ditch.

He waded into calf-deep water to rescue the ducks from the pipes, according to the article in the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper.

Talley is the sixth on-duty death in the Boulder Police Department's history and the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1994, the Boulder Daily Camera reported.

"He was, by all accounts, one of the outstanding officers at the Boulder Police Department and his life was cut far too short," said Michael Dougherty, the Boulder County district attorney.

The bloodshed in Boulder marked the second deadly US mass shooting in a week, following gun violence last week that left eight people dead in the wider Atlanta area. A 21-year-old man has been charged with those killings.

Shooting history in Colorado

The killings added to a long line of mass shootings in Colorado accounting for some of the most shocking episodes of gun violence in modern US history.

In 2012, a young man dressed in tactical gear burst into a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a midnight screening and sprayed the audience with gunfire, killing 12 and wounding 70. In 1999, a pair of students went on a shooting rampage at Columbine High School near Littleton, Colorado, murdering 12 classmates and a teacher before taking their own lives.

Video captured by an onlooker, apparently while the shooting was still in progress, was posted to social media and aired on TV stations. It showed two bodies lying in the grocery store parking lot, before the person with the camera walks inside and films a third body, as three shots are heard in the background.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 7, which represents 32 employees at the King Soopers outlet, credited some of the grocery workers with helping customers escape through a rear exit.

It also thanked customers and emergency responders who "acted swiftly to prevent even greater loss of life."

The shooting occurred about 2 miles from the flagship campus of the University of Colorado, in the Table Mesa area of the city that is home to a residential neighborhood and the hilltop laboratory of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.