BERTHOUD, Colo. (KDVR) — Brooks Kreutzer will never see his 6-year-old daughter Lily grow up, and now his family is wondering if they will ever get justice for his death.
“My brother was an amazing dad, first and foremost, and a great husband,” said Briton Kreutzer. “She was his world and everybody knew it.”
On Sept. 5 around 1:45 a.m., the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office responded to a home in the 800 block of Douglas Place in Berthoud after receiving a call about a disturbance involving a gun.
That’s where they found Kreutzer shot dead, and his friend, 37-year-old Brandon McLaughlin. McLaughlin was taken into custody under the suspicion of first-degree murder.
“What we know so far is there was an argument, possibly an altercation,” Briton Kreutzer said. “Brandon shot my brother.”
He says the two were close friends.
After sitting in a jail cell for more than two weeks, McLaughlin is now a free man because the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office did not charge him. The investigation is ongoing, but it had a deadline of Sept. 23 to file charges in this case.
“When the district attorney told me that was a possibility, I just went completely numb,” Briton Kreutzer said.
McLaughlin’s attorney Dagna Van Der Jagt described how it played out in court a week before.
“The DA’s position is that they had overwhelming evidence,” Van Der Jagt said. “And I called them out and I said, ‘Well, respectfully, if you had overwhelming evidence, why hasn’t he been charged yet?'”
She’s arguing self-defense and believes her client will be exonerated, regardless of what evidence comes forward in the weeks to come.
In a press release, the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office said, “The Office of the District Attorney has elected not to charge the Defendant at this time. Investigation and forensic testing continue in this case; however, final laboratory results are not expected for several weeks.
“In order to convict an individual of first or second degree murder, the People must not only prove beyond a reasonable doubt all elements of the applicable offense, but must also prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was not acting in defense of himself or another person.”
But the decision not to charge McLaughlin has left Kreutzer’s family frustrated.
“In no way does our family agree or understand why the DA made the decision they did,” Briton Kreutzer said in a statement to FOX31. “Our lives have been completely flipped upside down, and this conclusion is devastating for all of us. There is no protection of innocence in this case, and an extremely dangerous man has been turned loose on our community.”
McLaughlin has a history of domestic violence, including kidnapping and third-degree assault. Briton Kreutzer says the fact that he’s back in the community gives him concern for his brother’s family.
Now he’s worried his family may never see their day in court.
“Regardless of the legal background, those two were very good friends and I understand that both families are effected by this tragic event,” Van Der Jact said.
“I want to know why,” Briton Kreutzer said. “I really want to know why you would do that to my brother.”
The Kreutzer family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for funeral expenses for Brooks, and the remainder will go toward his daughter’s education.