Ex-cop was drunk when he shot, killed teen: police

Local News

ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A newly released arrest document shows a former police officer was drunk when he shot and killed a teenager in a neighborhood roadway dispute.

Adam Holen, 36, is charged with second-degree murder and felony menacing in the death of 17-year-old Peyton Blitstein, who died at the hospital on the night of the Nov. 24 incident in a southeast Aurora neighborhood.

FOX31 legal analyst Chris Decker weighed in on the new details and considered the big question: Who was acting in self-defense?

Suspect confronted teens over speeding

Surveillance video captured the incident, and that’s “a very powerful piece of evidence,” Decker said, “because it doesn’t have a faulty memory. It doesn’t have a motive to fabricate or leave facts out.”

But the video doesn’t tell the whole story of what happened the night Blitstein was shot and killed.

Holen’s arrest affidavit confirmed both he and the teenager brandished a gun and opened fire that night.

According to police, Blitstein was one of five people in a car when Holen confronted them, accusing them of speeding through the neighborhood in the 3900 block of South Addison Way.

In an interview with police, Holen said “he felt like he was going to get beat up by the teens so he had his pistol out at low ready.”

“Low ready is a police term used to describe a handgun being held out of the holster and pointed downward,” according to the affidavit. Holen had just resigned from the Greenwood Village Police Department days before the shooting.

“You’re going to have the defense arguing that this is a trained police officer that had every right to confront these individuals,” Decker said.

Police: Man pulled gun first, then teen fired

But police say the video shows he confronted the teens with a raised gun, and that’s when and why the 17-year-old pulled out his own firearm — a “ghost gun” made of different pieces so it’s untraceable.

Police say the teen shot first, one time, hitting Holen in the hip. The former officer then fired nine shots from his 9mm pistol, killing the teen.

When asked why, Holen told police “he’s trained to eliminate the threat” and that “it was his training that took over, muscle memory, he didn’t think about it, he just did it.”

“The defense will point out that under the law of self-defense you really don’t have to de-escalate,” Decker said. “A police officer may be trained to do so, it may be best practices to try to de-escalate, but the law of self-defense is very clear: You may stand your ground.”

Here’s where Decker said prosecutors will push back.

Holen’s “toxicology test results showed positive for U cannabinoids,” and he had a blood-alcohol level of point 0.193″ — meaning he was not sober when he confronted and ultimately killed a teenager.

“That calls into question his judgment. It’s illegal, per se, to possess and discharge a weapon when you’re intoxicated,” Decker said.

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