AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – More than three months have passed since Kelly Acosta was murdered in his apartment complex’s parking lot. The suspect is still on the loose.
Aurora police confirmed Acosta died acting as a good Samaritan.
His roommate, who wished to only be identified as Valerie, was with Acosta the night he was killed. The duo witnessed a man beating a woman. Valerie said Acosta defended the woman, and was shot for doing so. He would later die in her arms.
“I got to hold him,” Valerie told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Acosta, a bartender at a nearby restaurant, was known for bringing together customers for Memorial Day festivities.
“He was the epitome of having a good time, and bringing everyone together,” said Laura Moshel, on of Acosta’s close friends.
To honor his tradition, the staff at Emerald Isle hosted a day of food, drinks and music in his memory.
“It is important for everybody to not forget, and to remember him forever,” Valerie said.
Customized hats, shirts and wrist bands were made, calling Acosta a “hero.” Sales, and tips from the restaurant, were donated to a fund to help find Acosta’s killer.
“We are not done fighting. We are going to find justice, no matter what,” Moshel said.
“We want justice for Kelly,” said Tim Robles, a close friend.
Acosta was known for taking pictures of the mountains from the deck of Emerald Isle. After his death, his friends renamed the deck Kelly’s Corner in his honor.
Although the killer has not been identified, and questions are left unanswered, his friends say Acosta was always one to do the right thing.
“He would have done the same thing 10 times over, even if he would have known how it would end,” one friend said.
“That was just who he was,” Moshel said. “He wasn’t going to stand for somebody who was going to do something wrong.”
Aurora police told CBS4 they did not have an update on the investigation as of Memorial Day. Robles said police assured him the case was not cold.
His friends hoped the reward for a tip leading to an arrest would surpass $40,000 in the coming days.
As Acosta’s favorite holiday passed, his friends had one message for his killer.
“Take accountability. Be responsible for your actions. We are going to find you,” Moshel said.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.