Teen charged as adult in deputy's murder

Posted at 7:17 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 07:19:18-05

The teenager accused of shooting and killed a Mesa County Sheriff's deputy is being charged an adult.

Austin Patrick Holzer, 17, is charged with murder in the 1st degree of a peace officer, assault, trespass, tampering with evidence, failure to register as a sex offender, defacing a firearm, possession of a defaced firearm, theft, possession of a handgun by a juvenile and unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon.

Holzer was a wanted sex offender who had run away without giving authorities his new address.

On February 8, Deputy Derek Geer responded to reports of a man carrying a gun and wearing a bandana over his face in the 500 block of Fruitvale Court.

Geer contacted a man matching the suspect's description and when the suspect attempted to run, Geer deployed his Taser, according the sheriff's office.

That is when the suspect opened fire on the deputy and took off on foot, investigators said.

Holzer was taken into custody about an hour later, officials said.

The arrest warrant for Holzer says he initially wanted to shoot himself, but the gun didn't work.

"At that point, I tried to pull the gun out and shoot him," Holzer said. "Didn't work the first time and then I cocked the gun again and shot three time and I saw blood just coming out of his face."

At one point while talking to police, Holzer said he wanted to be shot because he didn't want to go to jail.

"I was like, just shoot me, please, just please," Holzer said he told the deputy. "He wouldn't do it. He wouldn't shoot me. Couldn't even shoot myself."

The warrant says Holzer was asked if he was thinking about hurting himself while in prison because of his attempt to shoot himself during the confrontation with Deputy Geer. He says, “I don’t need to hurt myself. I am not suicidal at all… it was just cuz I knew I was gonna be a pedophile.”

The warrant says Holzer was originally considered a sex offender after an incest case. He complied with police until running away in September.

Holzer also admitted to an extended history of drug use. According to the warrant, Holzer also told police he'd stolen three handguns since running away from his father's house in September.

Geer was taken to the hospital with four gunshot wounds to his face, hand, chest and vest. The arrest warrant says Geer was placed on life support. After his organs were donated, he was removed from life support and died.

Geer's funeral was Monday.

"He was strong, loyal and steadfast in his commitment to this organization," a colleague said at the funeral. "Derek will live in our hearts and memories forever."

"He affected each one of us, taught us to love and support each other," he said. "What defined him was his love for his family. He always made decisions with his family as a priority. Many of us were privileged to be part of his life, but his family was the center of it."

Geer was a Navy veteran and has been employed with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office since October 2001.  He was a husband and father of two children, ages 13 and 11.