Eric Talley remembered as "a man of God, one who put Christ first in his life."
Eric Talley, the Boulder, Colorado, police officer who was killed while confronting a gunman inside a Boulder supermarket March 22 was commended to God Monday following a Solemn High Requiem Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver.
The Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form (i.e., the Traditional Latin Mass) of the Roman Rite, a ritual that Talley “loved,” according to Fr. James Jackson, a member of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, who gave the homily.
Amid the splendor of the gothic cathedral, with its rich stained glass windows filtering the midday light, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila of Denver offered his condolences to Officer Talley’s family, who was present for the Mass. Talley leaves behind a wife and seven children.
Talley, 51, was the first police officer to arrive at King Soopers grocery store after reports of an active shooter situation. He was shot and killed by the gunman almost as soon as he arrived inside the store.
Nine other people were also killed during the shooting. A suspect, who was wounded in a gun battle with police, was arrested.
“Eric was a man who gave his life, and Jesus has told us, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, to lay down his life,” Archbishop Aquila said in brief remarks. “And Eric lived that.”
From testimonies Aquila had heard since the shooting, he said, “it was evident that Eric was a man of God, one who put Christ first in his life, his family first, and put his community and saving others.”
He addressed other police officers present at the Mass, saying, “Eric has shown what is best about the service you give to our community, to our cities, to our countries.”
“Too often, you are taken for granted, and yet in situations like this, you are the ones who protect human life,” he continued. “You know better than any of us that what Eric did is something you place yourselves in every day, and you save lives.”
Fr. Jackson, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Littleton, Colorado, in his sermon, said that “many might wonder where God was last Monday when this happened.”
“The answer is, first, he was in the Garden of Gethsemane,” Jackson said. “He saw everything that happened in Boulder, and then did penance for it in his trial, his crowning with thorns, the scourging at the pillar, the carrying of the cross, the crucifixion. That is where God was last Monday.”
Jackson said there are several reasons for the funeral Mass, one of which is to “thank God for having created Officer Talley.”
“And what a creation he was. He was a good man, an honorable and faithful father, a faithful son and friend, a faithful and heroic officer of the law,” he said. “But I will stop there, since traditional Catholics do not want to be canonized at their funerals. They want prayers for their stay in purgatory. They want prayers for their loved ones, whom they left behind.”
Right after the shooting, Archbishop Aquila said in a statement that Officer Talley has been described as “a man of character and strong faith, a loving father to seven children, a husband who cared deeply for his family, and a soldier for Christ.”
“We also know that Officer Talley regularly stopped by St. Martin de Porres in Boulder and participated in its events, even though he wasn’t a parishioner there,” the archbishop said. “St. Martin de Porres is just across the street from King Soopers.”