Deadly shooting of 12-year-old in allegedly stolen car could be complicated legal case

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.



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.

CBS News Colorado legal analyst Raj Chohan


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

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District attorney clears deputies involved in fatal shooting in Windsor last year

Three Larimer County Sheriff’s Office deputies have been cleared in the fatal shooting of a Fort Collins man near Crossroads Boulevard and Centerra Parkway in Windsor last year.

Justin Anderson, 51, was shot and killed Nov. 21, 2022, following a vehicle pursuit. The Critical Incident Team investigated the shooting, and Gordon McLaughlin, district attorney for the 8th Judicial District, shared his decision in a letter dated Feb. 9 but released to the media Friday. In that letter, McLaughlin said the deputies involved in the shooting — Justin Napolitano, Jonathon Wedemeyer and Jaime Smith — were justified in their use of force and would not face any criminal charges related to the shooting.

Here’s what we learned from that letter about the circumstances surrounding the shooting, the investigation into it and McLaughlin’s decision. You can find the full letter at

What led up to the Windsor shooting

According to McLaughlin’s letter, the incident leading up to Anderson’s shooting began when Napolitano was doing “proactive patrol” at the Love’s Travel Stop off the Berthoud exit of Interstate 25. The sheriff’s office provides contracted law enforcement services for the town of Berthoud, including the portions of the town that aren’t in Larimer County, such as where the Love’s Travel Stop is located.

McLaughlin noted that Love’s is “a common location for illicit drug transactions” and that Napolitano had made drug-related arrests there before. During his patrol, Napolitano saw a car pull up to an out-of-service gas pump and then move to another pump after the driver saw his patrol vehicle, McLaughlin wrote, adding that the car ultimately left without getting gas and the driver didn’t get out of the car before leaving.

McLaughlin said Anderson arrived as that vehicle was leaving, and he parked the gray Chevrolet truck he was driving

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