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Sister of slain Boulder police officer Eric Talley recalls gut-wrenching moment she realized he "was gone"

Sister of slain Boulder officer speaks out
Sister of slain Boulder officer speaks out 02:06

Officer Eric Talley, who died trying to stop the gunman accused of killing 10 people at a Boulder, Colorado supermarket, "loved" his job, according to his sister Kirstin Brooks.

A vigil was held in Boulder Wednesday night to honor the victims who died when a 21-year-old gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery on March 22.

Talley was the first responding officer to the scene. Brooks told "CBS This Morning" that she checked the news the day of the shooting and "the first thing that showed up was 'Boulder Shooting 1 Cop Killed'."

"I immediately screenshotted it and sent it to my mother and I said, 'Is Eric at work?' And then I started to text Eric," she said. "I said 'Hey, it's Kirstin.' Then I called him, I said 'Hey, I know you're in the middle of this probably but give me a call.' And then I didn't hear from him."

Brooks said she made it back home and through her front door when her mother called.

"She was just screaming, and she said his daughter had called her. His young daughter," Brooks said. 

Talley's daughter had told her grandmother: "Nana, daddy's dead."

Meanwhile Talley's sister said she did not know others had been killed — only that her brother was gone.

"And with that, everything about Eric was gone. It's not just Eric that's gone, it's who he was in my family," she said.

Talley, at age 51, had been a father of seven children. Joining the Boulder police force in 2010, he is the first officer in that department killed in the line of duty since 1994.

Brooks recalled him assuring her that it was not his job as a law enforcement officer that was unsafe, but rather "people."

Despite the risk, he told her that it carried more good than bad with it.

Talley had also been moving towards a position as a drone operator because he "talked about the violence in the world."

In a recent conversation, Brooks said Talley told her it "just seems to be getting worse" and said he would never want his family to have to deal with his death — as both a father and a husband.

"He said, 'Why would I do that?' He goes, 'That'd be stupid,' so I know that he'd never put himself at risk impulsively," Brooks said. 

She called the actions of the 21-year-old shooting suspect a "hateful act."

"What this man did, he took my brother's life and he took nine other lives. And these beautiful people are gone and that shouldn't bring me more hatred," Brooks said. "Yeah, I was angry. Still am angry. And sadness, but I don't hate that person. He doesn't get to have that power."

And while there are people who choose to gun others down, Brooks said they "don't win."

"They can't put out the light that was my brother, they can't put out the beauty that is his children and his family," she said. "It's not okay that I buried my brother, that's not okay. But everything is going to be okay, and he would say it with that look — that bemused look — like, don't be too upset. Like there's still light."

"CBS This Morning" lead national correspondent David Begnaud spoke with a survivor of the shooting, King Sooper's employee Logan Smith, who saw his coworker gunned down just feet away from him. See his powerful interview below:

Survivor recounts Boulder market shooting 03:05
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