12-year-old in stolen car killed in shootout with owner, police say

Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 4:54 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DENVER (KUSA) - As police in Denver investigate, there are still a lot of questions surrounding what led up to the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy in a stolen car.

Denver Police say they got a report Sunday about a car stolen from the Central Park neighborhood. The car’s owner said he was using an app to track it and eventually saw it stop all the way at an intersection in the Sun Valley neighborhood, about 15 minutes away.

According to police, the owner went to the car’s location and approached the stolen vehicle before he was “involved in an exchange of gunfire.”

After the exhange, police say 12-year-old Elias Armstrong drove the car a few blocks away, where he was found injured from a gunshot. Police believe other people in the stolen car ran away.

Armstrong was taken to the hospital but didn’t make it.

Police say the car’s owner talked to officers about the incident. He had not been arrested as of Wednesday, as the investigation continues.

Police have not determined who fired first or what led up to the exchange of gunfire. All of it is under investigation and will be factors in the “current determination regarding arrest.” It’s also unclear if the car’s owner informed police before taking action.

Ultimately, it is the district attorney’s office who will decide if charges should be filed.

Some residents of the Sun Valley neighborhood feel the fact a 12-year-old boy lost his life in this incident is heartbreaking.

Denver City Councilwoman Jamie Torres shared the same sentiment in a statement.

“I’m heartbroken that this ended in the death of a 12-year-old,” she said. “I know auto theft is a growing issue, not just in Denver but everywhere, and it’s infuriating to be victimized like that. But I discourage any resident to taking a vigilante approach.”

A police spokesperson said in a statement that they recommend against owners trying to recover their own stolen vehicles, saying car thieves could be armed. Instead, victims are encouraged to provide any details to police, including the location if the car can be tracked.