By Stan Bush
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) – The Mesa County sheriff’s deputy killed by a teenage gunman put himself at risk, according to witness accounts detailed in documents released Tuesday.
On Feb. 8, 40 year-old Deputy Derek Geer was fatally shot by 17-year-old Austin Holzer.
Geer responded to 911 reports of a masked man with a gun near Grand Junction’s city limits around 11 a.m. When Deputy Geer contacted Holzer the teenage suspect allegedly resisted arrest and tried to run. Geer, who responded alone, pinned Holzer to the ground and administered his Taser, according to witness accounts. After being tased, Holzer reached into his pocket and shot Geer at close range. The deputy was struck four times.
In his statement to investigators, Holzer may have been suicidal and tried killing himself before shooting Deputy Geer.
“I’d rather run than get caught by a cop,” said Holzer. “That’s why I wanted him to shoot me. I knew I was going to jail. I was like, ‘Just shoot me, please, just please.’”
Holzer gave several varying but similar accounts of what happened in the shooting. He was a habitual drug offender and says he used meth just days before the incident. The shooter says he tried to kill himself before shooting Geer.
“…he’s like, ‘Yes you are (being detained),’ and that’s when he tased me and then I had my hand on my belt,” Holzer told investigators. “I could not get my hand out of my pants and off my belt and he kept yelling at me and telling me to, so that’s when I decided to shoot myself. It didn’t work and at that point, I tried to pull the gun out and shoot him.”
Holzer ran and hid but was found an hour later. Geer was taken to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction where he remained on life support for two days to complete organ donations before he passed away.
The Mesa County district attorney dropped juvenile charges against Holzer to try him as an adult. He is charged with first-degree murder and 20 other counts.