AURORA, Colo. — An Aurora family has been ordered to remove a roadside memorial honoring a 16-year-old shot and killed in May.
On May 6, Ryan Robertson was shot and killed on Pheasant Run Parkway, near Independence Elementary School.
His mother, Lisa Unger, created a memorial the following day.
“The place we placed it is exactly where he was shot and killed,” she said.
Unger says she’s visited the memorial every night, cleaning the photo of Ryan and picking up trash and debris.
“It’s where I come and I sit and I talk to him. It’s not a good memory, but I feel like this was his last memory,” she said.
But Unger says she received a call Tuesday morning from an Aurora neighborhood liaison telling her to take down the memorial.
“I feel like it was kind of like a slap in the face. I already lost my son and all I have left is this memorial site,” Unger said.
Aurora city code prohibits memorials on public sidewalks, streets, alleys and right-of-ways, per Sec. 94-106.
A city spokesperson says the city received multiple complaints from neighbors in the area. They would not elaborate on the specifics of those complaints.
“He spoke his last words on that spot, he took his last breath and that’s where his life ended,” said Unger. “And to take away the last piece we have left is even worse.”
An Aurora spokesperson says Public Works will likely remove the memorial if the family doesn’t. Those items would be stored until the fa
mily claims them.
Currently, the only option for permanent memorials in Aurora is for families to purchase a “commemorative bench.”
A flyer obtained by FOX31 shows that bench costs $2,205.
“I mean, if they want to pay for it, that would be great,” said Unger. “But they also get to pick and choose where the bench is placed, and we chose this spot because it’s exactly where he was shot and killed.”
Unger later removed her son’s memorial. A friend of the family has started a GoFundMe account to pay for the memorial bench.