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Father of Aurora teen killed in shooting remembers son's love of military, social justice

Detectives are still working to determine who the primary aggressor was in the shooting, the Aurora Police Department said.

AURORA, Colo — Adam Holen, 36, was identified as the former Greenwood Village Police Department (GVPD) officer who shot and killed a teen in Aurora on Wednesday, 9Wants to Know has learned.

Aurora police and prosecutors are working to decide if Holen will face charges for shooting the teenager, who the family has identified as 17-year-old Peyton Blitstein.

Aurora Police Department (APD) said officers responded around 10:30 pm. on Nov. 24 to a report of two people shooting at each other in the 4900 block of South Addison Way. That's east of E-470 and south of East Quincy Avenue. 

After interviewing witnesses, APD said detectives determined the incident started with an argument between the 36-year-old former officer and a group of teenagers over alleged careless driving in the neighborhood.

> Video below: Father of teen killed in Aurora shooting involving former Greenwood Village Police Department officer speaks:

Peyton's father, Todd Blitstein, will remember his son by the little moments they had talking about music, or arguing about which candy was the best. 

He said his son loved the military and cared about social justice. 

"The biggest thing, when it came to Grandma and Peyton time, he loved staying home and watching Hallmark Channel and Murder She Wrote, and all those different shows," said Todd Blitstein. 

His attorney advised him not to talk about or answer any questions about the investigation.

PREVIOUS: Teen dies after he and former officer shoot each other, police say

During the argument, Holen and one of the teenagers fired shots at each other, according to APD.

Blitstein was taken to the hospital, where he later died.

Holen, who is not currently employed by any law enforcement agency, was also taken to a hospital and was expected to live, APD said.

According to Greenwood Village Police Department records, Holen joined the department in August 2016 and resigned on Nov. 1 of this year. 

"I have put a lot of thought into this decision and decided that it is time for me to move on from law enforcement," Holen wrote in his resignation letter. "This decision is in my family's best interest." 

Holen was not the subject of any internal investigations regarding alleged misconduct involving a member of the public during his tenure with the agency, Police Chief Dustin Varney said.

Detectives are still working to determine who the primary aggressor in the shooting was, and APD said no arrests have been made.

Security video from a neighbor's Ring camera shows Holen in a truck. It captures Holen getting out and walking behind the back of a car.

"The single most important factor was who was the initial aggressor," 9NEWS Legal Expert Scott Robinson said. "An initial aggressor cannot use deadly force unless they retreat and communicate that retreat to the other people."

Robinson said if investigators determine Holen was the primary aggressor, then he didn't have the right to use deadly force, even as self defense.

> The shooting was caught on the doorbell camera of a nearby home. Warning: This video contains images and audio that may be difficult for some people to watch including graphic language and gun violence.

"Judging solely from the video, it is difficult to see how the officer was anything but an initial aggressor," he said. "It doesn't include what actions put that individual in a position where he felt he had to get out of his truck."

Aurora police said Holen and a 17-year-old boy fired shots at each other. It is not known yet who shot first. 

"It will be a difficult case for the investigators if all they have is a video from a Ring camera," he said. "That really doesn't tell you the essentials of who the initial aggressor was."

That is why interviews with witnesses will be crucial to determine if criminal charges against Holen are appropriate.

"Investigators will look at the video over and over and over again and then they will compare it to what eyewitnesses are available to tell them what happened," Robinson said.

The woman whose camera captured the video said the man was taunting the kids to get out of the car. She did not want to be identified, but spoke to 9NEWS on the phone.

The entire shootout lasts five seconds. One minute after the shooting ended, video shows Holen getting in his car and moving it down the street. The people in the house run to check on the teen.

Two minutes after moving his car, the video shows Holen running back to the teen, where a woman is trying to give him CPR. She said he tried to help. He told her he used to be an officer, and he says he was shot in the leg during the shootout.

The Arapahoe County District Attorney's Office said Monday that the police department has not presented anything on this case to their office, and there's no timeline on when that could happen. 

Anyone who might have witnessed the incident and hasn't yet spoken to police can contact the Aurora Police Major Crimes Homicide Unit.

Anyone with information can also call Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867 or visit metrodenvercrimestoppers.com. Tipsters can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000. 

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