Former officer charged in Aurora teen’s death was drunk at the time of the shooting, affidavit states

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Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-24 11:06:13-05

DENVER – The former Greenwood Village police officer charged with second-degree murder in the killing of an Aurora teen on Nov. 24 was drunk at the time of the shooting, according to an arrest affidavit in the case.

Adam Holen, 36, had a blood alcohol level of .193 the night he shot and killed 17-year-old Peyton Blitstein in an exchange of gunfire, the arrest affidavit documents show. In Colorado, a person is declared legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol level is .08.

The teen was shot at least four times in the chest and once on his left arm before he was pronounced dead later that evening. Holen was struck on his hip and was treated at a hospital for his injuries.

Review of body worn camera video from Aurora Police Department officers, as well as Ring doorbell camera video at the scene of the shooting in the 4900 block of S. Addison Way, show the confrontation between Holen and Blistein.

Holen told police he confronted Blistein and his group of friends that night about their careless driving. Holen claimed the teens had been racing nonstop and just wanted to get them to stop as he had children who play on the street.

The teens, who were inside a red Toyota Scion, denied they were speeding and claimed they were driving about 20 mph on a 25 mph zone, though at least one of them told police they had loud music at the time of the encounter.

During the altercation, Holen told police that out of nowhere, “three dudes got out of the Toyota Scion, and surrounded him,” according to the affidavit, at which point he feared for his life and pulled his handgun and had it at “low ready” which he learned as part of his police training.

But the teens told police after the shooting that Holen had been following them home and allegedly yelled at them and at one point, pointed a handgun at one of the teens who was arguing with the 36-year-old about their alleged racing and loud music.

In statements to police, the teen who had the handgun allegedly pointed at him told Blistein what had happened and that’s when the 17-year-old got out of the car to confront Holen.

Arresting documents state Holen reportedly saw Blistein pull out a handgun before firing the first round. Holen then returned fire and shot Blistein several times, according to the arrest warrant.

The arrest affidavit states a total of nine rounds were fired. Seven bullet casings from Holen’s gun and one from Blistein’s gun were identified by crime scene investigators. The other two casings were never found.

Investigators at the scene said they found a black handgun with a 31-round Glock extended magazine next to where Blistein was found on the ground, adding the handgun had a “double feed” malfunction, which happens when fired bullets do not properly eject before the next bullet is chambered in the gun.

Police said that handgun appeared to be made from different parts and had no serial number on it or markings on the slide, which pointed to it being a “ghost gun” – guns that cannot be traced back to a manufacturer or seller.

During interviews with the witnesses, the teens told police Blistein had previously showed them the gun and told at least one of them that he got it for protection because “he thought some people were after him and he didn’t feel safe” and because he “was going to live off of Colfax,” according to the affidavit.

One of the teens who spoke with police said he thought the instigator was Holen, and told investigators he felt responsible for the shooting because he was the one who told Blistein the former officer had a gun, which led the 17-year-old teen to confront the man.

The teen felt that “if he had not told Peyton (Blistein) that Adam (Holen) had a gun, this may not have turned into a shooting,” the affidavit states.

Following the shooting, the 36-year-old former officer was “emotionally distraught” and his speech was very fast paced, according to arresting documents.

On Wednesday, Holen was charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of felony menacing, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon by the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. He is also facing two violent crime sentence enhancers.