Police in Colorado said Thursday they were investigating a car theft and the fatal shooting of a 12-year-old boy found inside by the car’s owner after an exchange of gunfire.
No arrests have been made in Sunday’s shooting in Denver, and it is still not known who stole the vehicle, police said. They spoke at the scene with the man who owns the car.
The car’s owner used an app to track his vehicle, found it stopped in an area about 12 miles away and, when he approached it, there was an “exchange of gunfire” with at least one person inside the car, police said in an initial update on the shooting. It was not clear how many people were in the car.
The boy drove a few blocks away, and police said they found him inside with a gunshot wound. He died after being taken to the hospital.
Investigators identified the driver of the stolen car as 12-year-old Elias Armstrong,.
Other people who were in the vehicle apparently ran away before officers arrived, police said.
Police confirmed that the boy who was shot is the same one they issued an alert for in 2021 after he ran away from home at age 10.
When police complete their investigation, they said, they will provide their findings to the Denver District Attorney’s Office, which will decide on any criminal charges.
CBS News Colorado legal analyst Raj Chohan said this would be a very complicated criminal case.
“This is exactly why we don’t want civilians approaching car thieves in cases like this because something terrible can happen,” said Chohan.
It’s unclear who pulled the trigger first – the victim of the car theft or the people inside that car.
“The reason we have this dilemma is because a person certainly is allowed to use deadly force to defend themselves, if they reasonably believe that deadly force is about to be used on them. However, you are never allowed to use deadly force just to protect property,” said Chohan.
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