Remembering Officer Gordon Beesley

Friends recall a caring husband, father, dedicated colleague — and drummer

Ryan Dunn
rdunn@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 7/7/21

Officer Gordon Beesley was going through motorcycle training with the Arvada Police Department when he was asked to maneuver through an obstacle course, round a cone and return at speed as part of a …

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Remembering Officer Gordon Beesley

Friends recall a caring husband, father, dedicated colleague — and drummer

Posted

Officer Gordon Beesley was going through motorcycle training with the Arvada Police Department when he was asked to maneuver through an obstacle course, round a cone and return at speed as part of a test. Beesley completed the course, approached the cone and laid the motorcycle down to round the cone before the bike “high sided” and sent him airborne.

Beesley landed “like a cat,” picked up his bike and finished the test “with a smile,” according to Dave Snelling, Beesley’s longtime colleague at the APD, where Beesley worked for 19 years.

“He’s just one of those amazing humans,” said Snelling. “You literally could not make him angry. Every time you saw him, your day just got greater. The thing I love about Gordon the most — he was 6’2”, 6’3” — he referred to me as “Little Davey.’”And he was the only one I couldn’t get mad at for it.”

Beesley was killed on June 21 in Olde Town Arvada by a gunman who left behind writings proclaiming his hatred of Arvada police.

Beesley’s tenure with the APD — where he served as a school resource officer (SRO) at Oberon Middle School, Lincoln Academy and Excel Academy Charter School while working patrol in the summers — made him a visibly beloved figure in the community.

“You’ll have cops that grow their image around the badge,” said Snelling. “I think the badge grew an image around Gordon. And Gordon humanized the badge. He had just as many friends outside the business as he did inside, but (being a police officer) wasn’t his identity when the uniform came off.

“He just liked the work,” Snelling continued. “Really, whenever he put that uniform on, you can’t help but see that there was a man behind that badge, not just a cop. That made him a fantastic cop.”

Outside of work, Beesley was known as a caring husband and father, avid mountain biker and talented drummer in local bands such as Brethren Fast, which draped an American flag adorned with the band’s name on the memorial outside of Arvada City Hall, and the Railbenders.

Patti Danford, the vice principal at Oberon Middle School, where Beesley most recently worked as an SRO, went to the Dark Horse in Boulder to see Beesley play with one of his bands.

“He was great,” said Danford. “It was so fun to see him in that environment. I took my husband and told him, ‘That’s Officer Beesley,’ and he said, ‘Wait, that’s the police officer you work with?’ And I said, ‘Yes, that’s Gordon.’ I’m really glad I was able to go see him do that; something he really loved.”

The Railbenders said they were not in a place to discuss Beesley after his passing but called him “the nicest guy you could ever know” in an email to the Arvada Press.

“Gordon was a founding member of our band and played on our debut record,” said Railbenders lead singer Jim Dalton via email. “He was a tremendous talent and performer.  More importantly, he was a great friend.  He was a gentle giant.  He was the nicest guy you could ever know.

“The truth is,” Dalton continued, “there are not enough words in the English language to adequately describe the amazing human being Gordon was. He was truly a light in our city and now there is a heavy darkness felt in his absence.”

Danford added that while Beesley’s passions shone through in all aspects of his life, he remained committed to his role as an SRO at Oberon.

“He’s multi-dimensional and he had lots of interest outside of school,” Danford said. “When he was at school, he was super professional, super focused. He was there to do a job but had some deep passions. From our conversations, it was abundantly clear that his biggest priorities were his wife and two kids. He was, in my mind, first and foremost a family man.”

Heidi Cuppari, a family friend of the Beesleys, whose children attend the same school, said she was devastated when she heard the news Beesley had been shot.

“My heart just broke in a million pieces,” said Cuppari, “because I knew how kind he was. It was particularly heart-wrenching for me because I know the boys and I knew him and I knew how caring and what an epic, amazing human being he was. And his spirit will always be here.”

Cuppari started a GoFundMe that has been authorized by Beesley’s widow to raise funds for their family shortly after Beesley’s passing.

“We organized the GoFundMe,” Cuppari said, “just to show that we are here and that we recognize what a tragedy this is.”

The APD has confirmed that the suspect in Beesley’s death, Ronald Troyke, left a note expressing his hatred for the department in particular, stating in part, “My goal today is to kill Arvada PD officers,” according to a June 25 press release.

“The scariest part of this entire thing,” Snelling said, “is that we now know the narrative that the suspect specifically targeted, ambushed and murdered. And it was one of the nicest people that anyone could ever know.”

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