First Responders

Colorado Community Turns Blue for Long-Time Officer Killed Monday

June 22, 2021Joshua Skovlund
arvada officer

The City of Arvada turned its main water tower blue in remembrance of Officer Gordon Beesley. Image courtesy of the City of Arvada via Twitter.

After a 19-year veteran police officer was shot and killed Monday in the Denver suburb of Arvada, Colorado, people across the community found ways to honor and say goodbye to Officer Gordon Beesley.

Beesley was well-known in Arvada for his attention to students as the resource officer at a local middle school. He was on patrol duty for the summer when he was killed responding to a call in a district known as Olde Town Arvada.

Arvada residents line the streets during a procession for officer Gordon Beesley, June 21, 2021. Photo courtesy of the City of Arvada via Twitter.

As word of Beesley’s death spread, members of the public gathered around the taped-off crime scene in the Olde Town Square, a popular shopping and gathering area in the middle of Arvada. Many carried American or “Thin Blue Line” flags as a procession carried the officer’s body away. As the sun set Monday evening, local officials switched the lighting on Arvada’s iconic 111-year-old water tower to blue flood lamps in tribute to Beesley, casting the whole structure in a blue hue. 

The water tower was first built in 1910 and has become a symbol of the town’s recent urban renewal.

Beesley was shot responding to a 911 call. Soon after Beesley arrived in the Olde Town area and exited his car, an armed man shot him. A bystander who ran to Beesley’s aid was also killed by gunfire. The shooter was later shot and killed, though few details were available at the time of publication. 

Arvada Deputy Police Chief Ed Brady said during a press conference on Monday that Beesley was the third officer to die in the line of duty in the department’s history but the first to die from gunfire. City offices were closed and government meetings canceled at the news of Beesley’s death.

Beesley was a school resource officer during the school year but was assigned to patrol duties during summer break.

CBS Denver reported Tuesday that, in 2014, Beesley had purchased a bike for a special needs student at Oberon Middle School. The student’s mother didn’t want him to ride his bike to school alone, so Beesley rode with the boy to school on his own patrol bike. After school was released for the day, he accompanied the student back home again. 

A memorial service will be held for Beesley Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Peace Lutheran Church.

Read Next: Are the NFL’s Social Justice Ads Smearing a Good Cop?


Joshua Skovlund
Joshua Skovlund

Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He has covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children. His creative outlets include Skovlund Photography and Concentrated Emotion.

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