The Boulder police officer killed in the King Soopers mass shooting was remembered by his seven children Tuesday as “our unsung hero” at his emotional funeral in Colorado.
A poem penned two years ago by Eric Talley’s kids was read out loud during the service at Flatirons Community Church in Lafayette.
“Dad, our unsung hero, your daily risk your life at work to guard and care for the welfare of the needy, oh, our praises could never be enough,” reads the poem, recited by Father Daniel Nolan of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church.
“May the Angels watch over you and guard you on your way. May god bless and protect you and bring you home each day.”
“Officer Talley was brought home that day,” Nolan added, “not to his earthly home but his heavenly home.”
Early in the ceremony, Boulder police officers took turns saluting Talley’s coffin — draped in an American flag with a spray of red roses and purple flowers on top.
Nearby was a giant cut-out of a Boulder Police shield — bearing Talley’s shield number, 295.
Boulder Police chief Maris Herold shared more about Talley’s life — including that he was a black belt in karate, loved playing board and card games and was a member of the department’s drone team specializing in 3D mapping.
“Everyone who knew Eric knew he was optimistic about his future, his family and his position within the Boulder Police Department,” Herold said.
Talley also loved Star Wars.
“Colleagues, me included, would sometimes try to get under Eric’s skin by suggesting that Star Trek is a superior series to Star Wars — which it is,” Herold deadpanned, drawing laughter that punctuated the somber ceremony.
The chief also recalled Talley once rescuing a duck and her 11 ducklings — when he wasn’t helping his colleagues troubleshoot their tech problems.
“By all accounts, the mother duck was grateful,” she added. Talley was among the first officers to arrive on scene at the King Soopers last Monday — leading a team into the grocery store where they were met with a hail of bullets from alleged gunman Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa.
Police said Talley was shot in the head — the last of 10 victims killed that day.
His handcuffs were later used to arrest Alissa, 21, who is charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and faces additional charges in the coming weeks.
Herold reiterated that Talley had a lucrative career in IT but opted to become a police officer at the age of 41.
He was inspired to join the force following the death of one of his friends in a DUI crash.
After sharing that her own father died when she was 13 years old, Herold directed a message to Talley’s surviving children.
“Your father was kind. Your father died a hero,” she told them. “There is no doubt because of his bravery and quick action, dozens of innocent lives were saved. I hope this brings solace to you in the years ahead.”