NewsCovering Colorado


Friend of couple killed in Peyton shooting remembers their 'down-to-earth' spirits

Posted at 11:02 PM, Dec 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-14 01:02:25-05

PEYTON — Erik Shaw gazes down at a cactus plant sitting on his kitchen counter. It's a housewarming gift from 2017, given to him by his former boss, Rob Vandelac, and his wife, Desiree Vandelac.

He's not sure how much longer the 6-year-old plant will live, but he's grateful to have it. He said it holds more meaning now than it did last week.

"I think a lot of us that have been involved with this the last couple of days, we just don’t even have the words for what has occurred," he said.

The Vandelacs were two of the four people found dead in their home on Akawi Way in Peyton last week. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office said deputies responded to reports of a shooting at the home and found the couple, 30-year-old Debray Scott, and 22-year-old Peyton Vandelac dead.

Peyton was the couple's son, according to Shaw. The sheriff's office said his death is the only one not being investigated as a homicide. Deputies said a fifth person, whose name they are not yet releasing, had non-life-threatening injuries.

Shaw said he crossed paths with Rob in 2017 when they both worked for the Space Force. He said Rob was retired from the Navy and trained him when he first started.

“It was my first big job, first big opportunity. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to work for and be trained underneath. He was fantastic," he said. “He was just such a down-to-earth human being to talk to. The conversations that we had are something that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

He said Desiree, who went by Nikki, was the heart of their family.

“Nikki was awesome. She was very much the glue of that family. She held everything together, an animal lover," said Shaw. “There was never a dull moment with either one of them when they were around.”

The ever-growing cactus plant in Shaw's kitchen spills over the pot it's kept in. It's now a reminder of the kind of lives the couple led, overflowing with love.

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