12-Year-Old Car Thief Shot Dead By Owner After Exchanging Gunfire


A 12-year-old car thief was shot and killed by the car’s owner after he tracked the vehicle down using an app on his phone. The deceased has been identified as Elias Armstrong and car owner remains unidentified as of this writing.

CNN reported that the man apparently discovered his car to be stolen and shortly after notified the police. He also told the police he was tracking the car’s whereabouts on his phone via an app. He eventually found the car several miles away from where it was stolen and pursued it. CNN continued:

When the man found his car about ten miles away and approached the vehicle, he was “involved in an exchange of gunfire” with people sitting inside the vehicle, police said. Police did not provide further details on how or why the shooting broke out.

During the gunfire, the car owner shot the 12-year-old, who then drove off in the car, the release said. The young driver was found by police about two blocks away and was taken to a hospital where he was later pronounced dead, it said.

The car, with the 12-year-old driving and “other” unidentified occupants, drove for about two more blocks before stopping, CNN added. The driver was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead; the other occupants are said to have run off on foot before police arrived on scene and remain at large.

The Denver Police Department said it had not filed any charges against the shooter, citing lack of evidence still. From the way CNN wrote its story, it becomes clear that this option is still on the table.

Now, while we do not condone violence, it would say something about our society if the car’s owner were to be charged with manslaughter or murder while defending his own property. If someone steals your car, often people’s most valuable possessions after a home, not being able to defend it is tantamount to permitting felony crimes.


That the shooting occurred in the deep-blue city of Denver in the blue state of Colorado likely wouldn’t help this man’s chances, if charges were to be pursued. Once the investigation is complete, “findings will be shared with the Denver District Attorney’s Office,” CNN said.

The Denver Gazette wrote that the location of the car theft, a Harkins Theater parking lot, is a common place for criminal activity. A manager described stolen cars as being a daily activity. The Gazette also described the victim of the fatal shooting as a young child with a troubled past.

When Armstrong was 10 years old, he ran away from home, according to a Denver Police missing person’s alert in May of 2021.

He was described as being 4-feet-10-inches tall with black hair and brown eyes. The report indicated he “is in need of medication.” He was found two days later and returned home safely, according to police.

The manager of the Harkins Theater, who asked not to be identified, said cars are stolen almost every day from the Northfield Center. An employee said her Hyundai was stolen and found in Montebello six days later with a broken ignition.

Featured image: Denver Police Department