A HERO who shot dead an AR-15-wielding cop killer was then tragically gunned down by a responding officer.
John Hurley, 40, used his concealed carry pistol to kill gunman Ronald Troyke, 59, who had just murdered a policeman in Arvada, Colorado on Monday.
However, after shooting the cop killer, John picked up the man's assault rifle to disarm him and was then shot dead by an officer moments later.
Police hailed John as a "true hero" today while admitting the tragic case of mistaken identity.
Bill Troyanos, a witness to the shooting, watched John take down the gunman after making sure onlookers in the area moved away from the scene and were safe.
Shop worker Bill said John walked into his store at around 1.15pm moments before gunshots rang out.
He told The Denver Channel that the Good Samaritan drew his gun from his holster and rushed out to face the gunman.
Bill said: "He did not hesitate – he didn't stand there and think about it.
"I just want to make sure his family knows how heroic he was."
John confronted Troyke and fired up to six shots at him, causing him to fall against a parked car, Bill said.
Another shop worker said he heard John urging others to seek shelter.
He said: "He turned back and looked towards everybody at the restaurant and told us that he [the gunman] is coming, that he is coming back and that we should get inside."
Authorities have not confirmed whether charges could be brought against the officer who shot John dead.
Police did tell local media that the unnamed cop has been placed on administrative leave.
Reports say John was a trained chef and had recently worked for a catering company.
His ex co-worker Cole Crocker told Fox 31 that he was a caring person.
He said: "Johnny was the kind of guy that would think of everyone but himself first, always."
Police said the motive behind the cop killing was a "hatred of police officers".
Officer Gordon Beesley, 51, was "targeted because he was wearing an Arvada police uniform and a badge," officials said.
Chief Link Strate told reporters: "Officer Beasley was ambushed by someone who expressed hatred of police officers."
He called the killing a "deliberate act of violence" and an "isolated incident."
Yet, police did not provide any further details about the dead gunman and how they knew he deliberately attacked Beesley.
Strate called John, of Golden, Colorado, a "true hero who likely disrupted what could have been a larger loss of life."
Beesley had been a cop for 19-years and was currently working as a school resource officer.
He is survived by his wife Karen and their two kids.
According to the Denver Post, Troyke was convicted of third-degree assault in 1992, a DWI two years later and was declared bankruptcy in 2013.
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