A man allegedly shot and killed a 12-year-old boy in the Sun Valley neighborhood. Police say the boy was driving a stolen car from Northfield.

Denver police have not said how many people were in the car, how many or who fired guns, or who fired first, among other details.

The owner of the vehicle tracked down that car and exchanged gunfire with those in the car, including the driver, once he located it.

On Sunday, the man reported his vehicle missing from the Shops at Northfield, 8340 Northfield Blvd.

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CBS


Police say when he used his iPhone to track the car, it took him to West 12th Avenue and Decatur Street. That’s when he approached the car, resulting in an exchange of gunfire between him and the person or people inside.

Investigators say the driver of the stolen car was 12-year-old Elias Armstrong.

After the exchange of gunfire, Elias drove off a few blocks away and when officers located him, he was taken to the hospital. The other people in the car with him fled on foot, police said. Elias later died from his wounds at the hospital.

CBS News Colorado legal analyst Raj Chohan says 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.

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CBS News Colorado legal analyst Raj Chohan

CBS


It’s still unclear who pulled the triggered 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.

It all comes down to the small details and interactions before the shots rang out, according to Chohan.

“It can get very complicated. It’s really going to depend on how did the car owner approach? What was said, what did the car thieves know to happen? Who pulled their guns first and fired shots first? That’s going to go a long way towards determining whether self-defense is in play here,” explained Chohan.

Denver police contacted the auto theft victim who shot Armstrong at the scene. Police have not publicly identified him and he was not arrested. The case remains under investigation.

The other people in the stolen vehicle ran off before police arrived, investigators said.

The District Attorney’s Office says they have not yet been presented with this case for filing.

DPD encourages anyone with any information to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.

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