AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Nearly two years have passed since the murder of a Good Samaritan in Aurora, shot to death while rescuing a woman from being beaten. Friends and family of Kelly Acosta are still waiting for justice.
Acosta, 29, was acting as a Good Samaritan when he was shot outside an apartment complex on South Dillon Way just north of Quincy on Feb. 18, 2017. He witnessed a man beating a woman and when Acosta defended her, the man shot him and took off.
“It’s been a struggle for us,” Molly Crawford, a friend and coworker, said through tears. “Even after two years, especially working here I think about him every day.”
Crawford works at Emerald Isle, where Acosta also worked as a bartender. She described Acosta as a “genuine person,” and others who knew him couldn’t agree more.
“He treated you like a best friend,” Tim Robles, a friend of Acosta’s, said. “He didn’t like people, he loved people.”
What makes it much more painful for family and friends is that Acosta’s murder remains unsolved.
“It’s been a roller coaster,” Robles told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “At first everybody was down and upset that it happened. I’m more to the point now that I’m happy I got to know him.”
To keep his memory alive, staff at Emerald Isle host a day of food, drinks and live music on the anniversary of Acosta’s death. On Feb. 18 this year, friends like Robles and Crawford will join many others in sharing stories about Acosta.
“This is the time we celebrate the fact that we knew him, rather than the fact that he’s gone,” Robles said.
“It’s just really nice to celebrate his life and we hope he can feel it wherever he is,” Crawford said of Acosta. “That’s the big home that he knows we love him.”
As they have the last two years, friends also create custom items in honor of Acosta.
“We’ve sold bracelets, we’ve sold coasters,” Robles explained. “This year we’ve got koozies.”
All money raised goes to a fund to help find Acosta’s killer. The hope is a bigger reward will bring new information in the case. Right now the reward is at $40,000.
“He was murdered doing the right thing, so I think it should come full circle,” Robles said. “Someone should do the right thing and help us out.”
Acosta’s closes friends are encouraging everyone and anyone to come to the fundraiser Monday. Not to be sad for Acosta’s absence, but to celebrate a life well lived.
“If you want to feel loved, even if you didn’t love him, then come on down Monday,” Crawford said. “You’ll feel the love for sure.”
The Acosta Memorial event kicks off at 11 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 18 at the Emerald Isle, located at 4385 S. Parker Road.
Police are asking for the public’s help. Officers will follow up on every lead, no matter how big or small.
Anyone with information can make an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers or call the case detective directly.
The Aurora Police Department is asking anyone with information about the case to contact Sergeant Matt Fyles with the Major Crimes/Homicide Unit at 303-739-6041. Tipsters can also use Metro Denver Crime Stoppers by calling 720-913-7867.