AURORA, Colo. — The teenager killed during an exchange of gunfire with a former police officer last week has been identified.
Sources close to the family confirmed to Denver7, Peyton Blitstein, 17, was the teenager who was killed during the Nov. 24 incident.
The Arapahoe County Coroner's Office confirmed Tuesday Blitstein was the person killed. The coroner's office said his manner of death was homicide after he was shot.
The Aurora Police Department said officers were dispatched to the 4900 block of S. Addison Way just after 10:30 p.m. that night for reports of a shooting. The area is near the intersection of S. Gun Club Road and E. Belleview Avenue.
Officers said the teen died after exchanging gunfire with a 36-year-old man, who is a former Greenwood Village police officer.
Through a public records request, the Greenwood Village Police Department identified Adam Holen as the former officer involved in the shooting. Holen was employed with the department from August 2016 through Nov. 1, 2021 when he resigned.
Aurora police said Holen was also shot on Nov. 24, but he survived his injuries.
Detectives interviewed witnesses and said they believe the ordeal happened after the man and a group of teenagers started arguing about alleged careless driving through the neighborhood.
Home surveillance video obtained by Denver7 shows the moments leading up to the exchange of gunfire.
No charges have been filed in relation to the incident.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help Blitstein's family with expenses.
Blitstein’s father, Todd Blitstein, talked about his son in a news conference on Tuesday.
“Like any parent in this situation, you’re lost. You don’t know what you could’ve done different to have such a different outcome,” he said. “You want to be there at the scene, to be there just before the prevent anything from happening. The fact is nothing’s going to change that.”
Todd Blitstein said his son liked the military and wanted to join the U.S. Air Force. Peyton Blitstein also loved his family and his English bulldog, his father said.
Todd Blitstein said he and his son were close – sharing music with each other and sending TikTok videos back and forth. His father said Peyton was also against racism and wanted to be an agent of change.
“He’s just somebody that loved people – wanted to be around people and be happy,” Todd Blitstein said. “…I don’t know what happened that night, why things went down the way they did. But I know from what I’ve seen, they didn’t have to.”
Todd Blitstein said he had woken up early last Thursday morning and seen a neighborhood alert on his phone about a shooting in his neighborhood. Shortly afterward, police rang his doorbell.
He answered, asking what was going on, he said. He asked the officers if his son was OK and they told him he was dead, Todd Blitstein said Tuesday.
He added that he had told his son he loved him during their last conversation and that he was already missing his son – who leaves behind a brother, his father, grandparents, a girlfriend and friends.
As to whether he believes the former officer should face charges, Blitstein said he simply wants the truth to come out.
“Whatever the ruling is from the DA’s office, or police, or whatever, I want the situation to be handled to the fullest extent,” Todd Blitstein said. “…We don’t need these kids dead. We need them as our future. We need to bring them up so they are stable and they are happy and want to do the right things. That’s exactly who Peyton was – he wanted to do the right thing.”