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Father of Aurora teenager shot and killed by former officer files wrongful death lawsuit

peyton Blitstein.jpg
Posted at 10:01 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 00:18:08-04

DENVER — The father of a 17-year-old boy shot and killed by a former police officer last November filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the man on Wednesday.

The lawsuit was filed by an attorney on behalf of Todd Blitstein, the father of Peyton Blitstein, in Arapahoe County District Court. The two claims for relief in the suit against Adam Holen, who faces second-degree, menacing and weapons charges in the shooting, involve wrongful death and a survival action.

Peyton Blitstein was riding in a car with four friends on the night of Nov. 24, 2021, in Aurora, and were driving into a neighborhood where one of the friends live and happened to be driving near Holen, who was on his way back from his sister’s house, where he had watched a hockey game.

Holen resigned from the Greenwood Village Police Department on Nov. 1 prior to the incident. He worked for the department since August 2016, the department said.

According to an arrest affidavit and the wrongful death lawsuit, Holen felt the teenagers had cut him off and were driving carelessly in the neighborhood, which the teenagers denied. One did say they had been playing loud music in the vehicle.

The teenagers stopped at the driver’s house so she could change, and Holen pulled up behind them and confronted them. Holen claimed that three teenagers had gotten out of the car. And “surrounded him,” and he pulled out a handgun. The wrongful death lawsuit says two teens had gotten out of the vehicle and were standing on the front porch.

Holen yelled at the teenagers, who yelled back that he should leave and leave them alone.

At that point, according to the affidavit and lawsuit, Holen pulled out a handgun and pointed it at at least one of the teenagers. The lawsuit claims he said out loud: “F--- these kids, man.”

The lawsuit and affidavit says Holen again pointed a gun, this time toward Peyton Blitstein and one of the other teenagers.

Peyton Blitstein was also carrying a handgun, which police said in the affidavit did not have a serial number and was made from different parts. People have to be 18 years old to own a firearm in Colorado.

Both the affidavit and lawsuit say that he pulled the gun out after Holen was pointing his at the teenagers and that Blitstein fired the first shot at Holen, who then returned fire.

Blitstein fired one round, according to the affidavit. The lawsuit claims he shot in self-defense because Holen was pointing a gun at him and his friends. Holen left the scene after the shooting and went to his home.

Holen fired nine rounds, hitting Blitstein at least five times – four times in the chest and once in the arm. He died about 45 minutes after the shooting at Parker Adventist Hospital.

Father of Aurora teenager shot and killed by former officer files wrongful death lawsuit

The lawsuit claims that Holen did not exercise the reasonable care needed when wielding a firearm and “unreasonably failed to exercise even the slightest amount of care in protecting others … from the dangers of being injured or killed as the result of a [sic] wielding a firearm during a confrontation he initiated.”

The affidavit for Holen’s arrest said he had a blood alcohol level of .193 that night. The lawsuit claims that Holen precipitated the confrontation in the first place and failed to reasonably care for others by pulling out and using the gun.

It claims his breach of duty of care included following the teens in the first place, not de-escalating the argument with them, pointing the gun at the teens, failing to call police or leave the scene if he felt threatened by the teens, and shooting nine times.

Todd Blitstein claims he has suffered damages including medical, funeral and burial expenses, as well as emotional damages and stress from his son’s death.

“Plaintiff’s damages are a foreseeable consequence of Defendant’s unreasonable failure to use even the slightest degree of care under the circumstances,” the lawsuit claims.

“Adam didn't only kill Peyton. He killed the family. We don't have Christmas. We don't we're not gonna have Thanksgiving ever again. It happened on Thanksgiving. So that's gone," Blistein told Denver7 Thursday.

Blitstein is seeking compensation for the alleged damages as well as court and attorneys fees and is seeking a jury trial for the lawsuit.

“I don't want this case to fall by the wayside. And I feel this is the best way to get justice and accountability for Peyton," the father said.

But at the end of the day, Blistein wants his son to be remembered.

“I have a ring here, it's got his ashes, it's got his fingerprint on it," he said. “You just try to remember them as much as possible. But the sad thing is that, you know, it's a bad memory.”

Holen, who is charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of felony menacing, and one count of prohibited use of a weapon, is scheduled to be arraigned in the murder case on Aug. 29.