Mesa County deputy taken off life support |

Mesa County deputy taken off life support

Deputy Derek Geer
Mesa County Sheriff’s Office |


Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on Monday, Feb. 15, on all public buildings statewide in memory of Mesa County Deputy Sheriff Derek Geer. Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset.

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, a father of two, 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.”

Geer, a U.S. Navy veteran, joined the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office in 2001. He was awarded the Lifesaving Medal in 2012 for reviving a heart attack victim. He is survived by his wife and two children, ages 13 and 11.

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.

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