AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) — A 17-year-old shot and killed after allegedly exchanging gunfire with a former Greenwood Village police officer has been identified as Peyton Blitstein.
The Arapahoe County Coroner’s Office released the teen’s identity and ruled his death a homicide.
Blitstein’s father, Todd Blitstein, spoke to the media on Tuesday.
“There will never be another Thanksgiving the same,” he said.
‘I didn’t want to see my boy hit the ground’
Blitstein recalled the painful moment when police knocked on his door at 4:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving, delivering the news about his son.
“I said, ‘Is he alright?’ He said, ‘No,’ and that’s when I asked him. He said, ‘He’s gone,'” Todd Blitstein said. “You just hope you can get the right information out so that people know who he actually was and what he was all about.”
The teen’s dad did not say whether Peyton was armed or why he may have shot his gun. He did say Peyton and the teens were dropping off one of their friends on Addison Way.
Blitstein said Peyton loved sharing mozzarella sticks with his dad. He loved spending time with his older brother, and his grandmother was his world.
“The biggest thing was when it came to grandma and Peyton time, he loved staying home watching Hallmark and ‘Murder, She Wrote’ with her,” Blitstein said.
Blitstein said he saw only a few seconds of surveillance footage, hoping it could answer questions about what led up to his son’s death.
“I didn’t want to see my boy hit the ground, I didn’t want to hear the sound,” Blitstein said. “I don’t know what happened that night. I don’t know why things went down the way they did, but I know with what I’ve seen, that it didn’t have to. I want the situation to be handled to the fullest extent.”
Surveillance video shows argument
Surveillance video shows the escalation of the argument and the shots fired. Aurora police say it started as a confrontation between an adult and a group of teenagers over a careless driving incident. As the argument escalated, shots were fired.
Adam Holen, 36, has been identified as the former police officer in the gunfire exchange. The teen later died, and Holen was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
Investigators continue to work on figuring out who was the aggressor in the situation and whether or not any charges will be filed.
Peyton Blitstein’s uncle created a GoFundMe for the family.