Mesa County deputy taken off life support |

Mesa County deputy taken off life support

Deputy Derek Geer
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office |

GRAND JUNCTION — A Mesa County sheriff’s deputy shot Monday during a confrontation with a teenager has died after being taken off life support.

Sheriff Matt Lewis announced the death of Deputy Derek Geer late Wednesday night.

The sheriff’s office said Geer was shot by a 17-year-old boy who was seen walking around with a gun in Grand Junction.

The Daily Sentinel reported that Geer was shot within a minute of telling dispatchers he was approaching the teen, according to police radio traffic.

Geer wasn’t expected to recover but was kept on life support so that his organs could be donated. The 15-year department veteran was married and had two children.

Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Monday at Canyon View Vineyard Church in Grand Junction.

“On behalf of Deputy Geer’s family and the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, words can not adequately express our gratitude for the outpouring of support and compassion from our community during this most difficult time,” Lewis said on the sheriff’s office website. “The support we have and continue to receive are allowing us to grieve and begin to heal.”

Prosecutors plan to charge the teen with murder as an adult.

The sheriff’s office identified him as Austin Patrick Holzer, 17, of Grand Junction.

The Sentinel reported Thursday that Holzer “has been living on the streets for the last several months, trying to stay one step ahead of the law to avoid being arrested in connection with violating his probation in a sexual-assault case,” according to prosecutors.

The Sentinel said a warrant for Holzer’s arrest for a probation violation was issued in October.

Holzer received a deferred sentence and adjudication in Jefferson County and the case was transferred to Mesa County when Holzer moved, District Attorney Dan Rubinstein told the newspaper.

Prosecutors said in court Wednesday that the teen was a regular user of methamphetamine who supported himself by breaking into vehicles and stealing guns, which he sold for food and drugs.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.