Update: When seventeen-year-old Austin Holzer's name was released following his arrest in the fatal shooting of Mesa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Derek Geer, we speculated that he would likely be charged as an adult; see our previous coverage below.
This possibility is now a reality. Holzer has indeed been hit with ten adult charges, including first-degree murder.
In addition, authorities have released arrest documents issued in Holzer's name; they're also shared here. The report reveals that Holzer had an active warrant in his name for an unspecified sex offense, and was listed as a runaway.
The account describes him as a meth-using gangster wannabe and quotes him as saying he wanted Geer to kill him and was disappointed that he used a Taser instead.
While speaking to authorities, the teen insisted that his first instinct was to shoot himself — but when that didn't work, he chose to fire at Geer instead, striking him three times in the face.
The report sets down the incidents that led to the confrontation between Geer and Holzer in simple fashion. Someone saw a young man with a gun and called the cops. Geer subsequently spotted Holzer, and tragedy ensued.
Geer was kept alive just long enough for his organs to be harvested.
By the time the investigators sat down with Holzer, they knew about his status as a sex offender and runaway. He's said to have agreed to speak with the cops in the presence of his father.
His description of what went down begins like so:
"Walking down 29 Road...(unintelligible)...crossed the street. Cop pulled me over and asked me if I just crossed the street like thirty minutes ago and then he says, 'Oh yeah, thirty minutes ago'...(unintelligible)...put my coat on...I went to put my coat on. He said, 'Don't put that on, man.' I said, 'Why not? Am I being detained?' And he's like, 'Yes, you are,' and that's when he tased me, and then I had my hand on my belt when he tased me and...(unintelligible)...I could not get my hand out of my pants and off my belt and he kept yelling at me and asking me to. So that's when I decided to shoot myself.
"It didn't work," Holzer continued, "and at that point, I tried to pull the gun out and shoot him. Didn't work the first time and then I cocked the gun again and shot three times and I saw blood just coming out of his face. So I ran and jumped the fence and hid in some shrubs."
The next time through the account, Holzer added more details.
"I had my gun in my pocket, but I wasn't trying to grab for that," he maintained. "I was trying to...(unintelligible)...because that Taser really hurts. And I had my hand on my belt and I don't know what was caught on it, but it was scaring me because I couldn't get it off and I had, like, a seizure or, like, some shit, and I couldn't....
"He thought I was trying to shoot him and I was trying to shoot myself. And then I tried to shoot him and it got to him.
"I said, 'Dude, you're gonna get fuckin' shot,' and he said, 'Please shoot me' [sic], and I cocked it back again and shot him three times in the face."
While hiding, Holzer said he reloaded his gun, in part because he didn't want to be taken into custody.
"Too scared of being in jail for too long," he allowed, in reference to his knowledge about the arrest warrant for him. "I've been in jail...fuckin' a....facility and I fuckin' hated it. Hated all my life. I'd rather run then get caught by a cop.
"That's why I wanted him to shoot me. I knew I was going to jail. I was like, 'Just shoot me, please, just please.' He wouldn't do it. He wouldn't shoot me. Couldn't even shoot myself."
Here's the complete list of charges against Holzer:
1. Murder in the 1st Degree of a Peace Officer (1 felony), in violation of CRS 18-3-102 and 18-3-107
2. 1st Degree Assault (3 Felony) in violation of CRS 18-3-202 (3 counts)
3. 1st Degree Criminal Trespass (5 felony) in violation of CRS 18-4-502 (1 count)
4. Tampering with Evidence (6 felony) in violation of CRS 18-8-610
5. Failure to register as a sex offender (6 felony) in violation of CRS 18-3-412.5 (1 count)
6. Defacing a Firearm (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-104 (1 count)
7. Possession of a defaced firearm (1 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-103
8. Theft (2M) in violation of CRS 18-4-401 (3 counts)
9. Possession of a handgun by a juvenile (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-108.5
10. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon (2 misdemeanor) in violation of CRS 18-12-105
11. Direct File, CRS 19-2-517 (l)(a)(I) Juvenile is 16 years of age or older at the time of the commission of the alleged offense, and is alleged to have committed a class 1 felony.
Look below to see a report about the latest developments from KKCO-TV and the arrest warrant, followed by our previous coverage.
Update, 6:23 a.m. February 11: Yesterday, we told you about the critical wounding of Mesa County Deputy Derek Geer, allegedly by a seventeen-year-old who wasn't immediately identified; see our previous coverage below.
Geer was still alive at the time of publication, but officials made it clear that he would be kept on life support only until his organs could be donated.
Late last night, Mesa County Sheriff Matt Lewis confirmed that Geer had passed away.
Meanwhile, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office released the identity of his suspected killer: Austin Holzer, who was reportedly trying to obtain a handgun from an online weapons group in the days before the shooting.
An old Facebook page created by Holzer remains online at this writing, but the only photos of him on it date back to 2011. Here's one portrait....
The page identifies him as a student at Grand Junction's Central High School, but a school district spokesperson tells the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that he wasn't currently enrolled.
More recently, according to the Sentinel, Holzer had been using a Facebook page headed "ET Went Home"; it listed him as an employee of Burger King. The page has since been deleted.
So, too, has a post Holzer is said to have placed on the page of a Facebook group called Western Slope Guns.
On February 4, he tried to trade assorted items for a handgun, the Sentinel notes.
The message read in part: “I have items like a flat screen tv, a pair of new Bushnell insta focus 10x30x50 binoculars and a full box of 270 win 150 grain power point bullets pm me!!”
Additionally, a onetime friend of Holzer's tells the newspaper that Holzer recently contacted him in the hopes of obtaining rifle bullets.
Upon the release of Holzer's name, a Mesa County Sheriff's Office release maintained that "Holzer has been charged with Attempted 2nd Degree Murder and Possession of a Weapon by a Previous Offender."
Since such counts can only be pressed by the district attorney's office, this assertion likely pertains to the charges recommended by the MCSO.
Yet the release of Holzer's name suggests strongly that he'll be prosecuted as an adult — as does the announcement from Sheriff Lewis, sent out at 11 p.m. yesterday.
"It is with tremendous sadness that I announce the passing of Deputy Derek Geer. Deputy Geer has been removed from life-support after completing a last selfless act of organ donation," Lewis wrote, adding, "On behalf of Deputy Geer's family and the Mesa County Sheriff's Office, words can not adequately express our gratitude for the outpouring of support and compassion from our community during this most difficult time. The support we have and continue to receive are allowing us to grieve and begin to heal."
Funeral services for Geer will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, February 15, at Canyon View Vineyard Church, 736 24 1/2 Road in Grand Junction.
Our sincere condolences to the friends, family and loved ones of Deputy Derek Geer. Look below to see Holzer's booking photo, followed by our original report.
Original post, 7:33 a.m. February 10: At this writing, there has been no announcement that Mesa County Sheriff's Office Deputy Derek Geer has died.
However, it's only a matter of time. An all-too-short amount of time.
Geer was shot multiple times on Monday, February 8, allegedly by a thus-far-unidentified seventeen-year-old who's currently in custody.
The deputy is said to have fired a Taser at the teen — but the device didn't prevent the attack on him.
In an update yesterday, an MCSO release includes this passage: "Unfortunately, Deputy Geer's condition has not improved. He is on life support so he can perform one last selfless act of service by donating his organs. We anticipate this process to occur within the next 48 hours, after which time all life sustaining measures will cease."
What happened? At 11:06 a.m. on the 8th, according to the sheriff's office, deputies were dispatched to the 500 block of Fruitvale Court — a location in the Grand Junction metro area captured in the following interactive graphic. If you have seeing the image, click "View on Google Maps."
The report: a male with a gun.
The suspect was said to have last been seen heading south across the Interstate 70 Business Loop and railroad tracks just to the south.
This information was broadcast to law enforcers, and shortly thereafter, Geer spotted and contacted a male matching the description near the intersection of E Road and 30 1/2 Road.
A second interactive graphic shows that area.
After what the MCSO terms "a short interaction," Geer told the teen he would be detained as part of the investigation into the weapons report.
At that point, the suspect tried to rabbit, so Geer fired his Taser.
In response, the male allegedly opened fire on Geer, hitting him multiple times before fleeing on foot.
Geer was rushed to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries while a dragnet was thrown out for the teen, who was taken into custody a few minutes after noon. No word yet about whether he will be charged as a juvenile or an adult.
A GoFundMe page created on Geer's behalf offers this description and appeal:
Deputy Geer was a beloved member of his agency, as well as a husband, son, Navy veteran, and father of two children. As the community is reeling from this horrific chain of events, the family seeks steady ground on which they can begin to process and heal from this unthinkable loss. Deputy Geer was a public servant to his core; he served in the United States Navy prior to his career in law enforcement, and has served in many capacities for the Mesa County Sheriff's Office since 2001.
In a time of trauma, the last thing any family wants to worry about is finances. Nothing can replace Derek in the lives of his loved ones; however, making sure that his family is cared for is a gift we can give to honor his sacrifice. We thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, in advance for your generosity. May your prayers and compassion be a reminder to the Geer family of the good in the world.
Thus far, more than $18,000 has been pledged toward a goal of $300,000.
The MCSO has also shared a statement from Geer's wife, Kate:
Our hearts are broken, as we begin the process of grieving the tremendous loss of Derek, our husband, father, son, and friend. The love and support that has been poured out to our family over the last 24 hours is humbling; the gratitude for Derek’s sacrifice and the compassion from this community is a reminder of the good in this world. As a family, we need to wrap our arms around one another and try to find ways to begin to heal. We thank you in advance for allowing us privacy while we grieve.
We send our best thoughts and wishes to the friends, family and loved ones of Derek Geer. Look below to see a sheriff's office video of a press conference about the shooting.
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