Father of 12-Year-Old Boy Shot After Stealing Car Says Shooter Acted as ‘Vigilante’

Thomas Armstrong spoke at the vigil for his son, Elias Armstrong, on Thursday night and said the man who fatally shot his 12-year-old boy was acting like a “vigilante.”

On the previous Sunday, a man tracked down his stolen car with a GPS cellphone app. The man, who police have not identified, found his vehicle at the intersection of West 12th Avenue and North Decatur Street in Denver, CO.

According to police, the occupants of the stolen car fired at the unidentified owner. The car’s owner fired back in retaliation and wounded the 12-year-old driver.

The young boy then drove the car to West 10th Avenue and Federal Boulevard, where police found him injured with a gunshot wound. He was taken to a local hospital but later died. 

Armstrong said he was told by a police detective last week that the perpetrators in the stolen car fired one or two shots while the car’s owner, who tracked them in another car via a GPS cellphone app, fired 15 rounds, “emptying his clip”, The Denver Gazette reported. According to Armstrong, authorities are unsure of who fired first. 

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A surveillance video shows the Feb. 5 shootout lasted only seconds as the stolen car’s owner drives up and parks in front of his stolen Audi. He gets out and rushes toward his stolen vehicle. After a short burst of gunfire, the Audi drives away. 

“He approached the car with the gun, running to the car, and (then he) pulled the gun out and started shooting right away. He was upset at these kids for taking his car and he’s angry. And he’s coming to kill these kids over his car,” Thomas Armstrong said at the vigil. “It was pretty much vigilante justice.”

Police said when the owner of the stolen car approached it, there was an “exchange of gunfire” with at least one person inside the car.

Other than the brief statement, the police have declined to comment further or release any documents on the case because the shooting and the theft are both active investigations. 

According to police, witnesses reported other people appearing to flee before officers arrived on the scene. 

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The office of Denver District Attorney Beth McCann said it would not charge the unidentified owner of the stolen car because it did not believe it could prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. 

In a statement Thursday, McCann said she met with the family last week to explain the decision which she said is based on the “self-defense issues which were present at the time.”

“My heart goes out to Elias Armstrong’s family in this time of terrible and overwhelming grief,” she said.

The Denver police are still investigating the incident and searching for the other individuals involved in the car theft.

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About the author: Dante Graves Dante is a movie and comic book junkie who loves a good explosion. His passion for politics and journalism led him here. Dante’s only aim is to be truthful and factual with his reporting.

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  • 2wheelexplorer March 16, 2023, 4:00 pm

    I live in the Denver area and can tell you after paying my sky high car insurance that car theft is getting way out of hand here…thanks much for taking care of at least one punk ass car thief, there’s plenty more out here unfortunately so keep up the good work 🙂

  • MM March 14, 2023, 5:47 pm

    I can see the lawsuits against the gun & ammo companies, retail shop, FFL dealer, already.
    Thank you Democrats! Because you care.

    • Rock April 21, 2023, 9:13 am

      I smell Al Sharpton and Ben Crump.

  • M March 14, 2023, 5:29 pm

    This is what happens when the Democrats change the laws & make stealing some ones car & a misdemeanor, & let people back out on the streets time after time. Kid got burnt, because he was playing with fire. So he learned the hard way. To bad, so sad.

  • Randy March 13, 2023, 10:29 pm

    Too Bad So Sad, Zero sympathy for the little Idiot. Wanna play a hood, you can die like one.

  • CMWyoMilCom March 13, 2023, 7:30 am

    Um. NO! NOT a “vigilante”! Sounds like he acted as a man having his car STOLEN!!! WHERE was this “grieving father” while his BRAT was stealing another man’s car? Should have shot the daddy, too!

  • Frank Staples March 11, 2023, 5:31 pm

    At the moment the first shot was fired then nothing after that is a “vigilante” action…it’s self defense.

  • Michael Rossi March 11, 2023, 7:06 am

    Garbage parents create worthless garbage kids.
    b l m is the #1 domestic terrorists in the USA – guess who raised those criminals?
    Other criminals.
    Newark NJ has ruined every city and town around it and beyond with the spread of the burn loot murder cancer. Proven ever day in their box score of WIA KIA DOA numbers. RLS news Newark. duck it Then “duck them”

  • John Boutwell March 10, 2023, 8:43 pm

    I can’t see one less criminal as a bad thing.

  • Jim March 10, 2023, 6:41 pm

    Clips only hold 8 rounds.

  • Fb111 March 10, 2023, 4:37 pm

    Outcomes such as this will become the norm as police have been virtually hamstrung by “government” interference in the performance of their duties! “Protect and Serve” has been the motto of more police departments than I can count, but when a “Federal Court” ruled that police do NOT have a duty to protect citizens, the citizens have no other recourse but to defend themselves and/or their property!

    • CMWyoMilGen March 13, 2023, 7:34 am

      Amen, brother!

  • Paul March 10, 2023, 3:11 pm

    Hmmm, had the stupid parent raised his stupid kid to not f%ck with other people’s stuff, he wouldn’t have won the Darwin Award. The whole world would be a better place if people would follow this rule. It’s how I was raised and I also raised my kids and I nor they, have ever been in trouble with the law. Hopefully he doesn’t have any more stupid kids or they have learned from it! 12 years old, stealing cars and possessing guns, how many other crimes has he committed that he didn’t get caught doing? Great job raising him jackass!

    • CMWyoMilCom March 13, 2023, 7:36 am


  • Ed Schrade March 10, 2023, 2:47 pm

    Good shoot as far as i am concerned. If the idiot hadn’t stolen the car he would still be alive.

  • Michael Wisley March 10, 2023, 2:36 pm

    The 12-year-old is now in the hands with George so he will be okay they are both burning in hell where they belong thank God crime just dropped by 1% with this worthless 12-year-old pile of shit dead in the ground turning to dust

  • Adolf Pelosi March 10, 2023, 2:26 pm

    This father seems to be a ignorant moron if anybody tries to steal my truck I would put a bullet in their head in a New York second whether they’re 8 years old or 80 years old teach your children to quit being Democrats and get a job and buy their own damn car or quit being a worthless father and by your worthless son a car you steal somebody’s vehicle your kid deserves to die most vehicles are well worth over a dollar where is your son’s life is only worth 3 cents

  • Daniel bardwell March 10, 2023, 1:52 pm

    Sounds like daddy was raising an upstanding 12y/o car jacker who justly got what was coming to him , I approve of more of this kind of action in today’s society

    • Michael Rossi March 11, 2023, 7:08 am

      Me too.
      One less of the democrats #1 domestic terrorists is a blessing

  • Jimmy Hamilton March 10, 2023, 12:57 pm

    I hate that a 12yr old was shot and then died later, first of all, what was a 12yr old doing out, late at night, second, why was he stealing a car, third, if you gonna steal and start shooting at the one whose car he had stolen, the owner had every right to return fire in self defense, the owner figured he had to track down his car because other higher priorities takes president over the car stealing. Can’t blame the owner, half blame goes to the youngster that stole the car and the other half blame goes to the parents of the 12yr old, I always knew if my kids were gone out of the house, and where they were if not at home, my kids knew better than to steal anything

    • Fal Phil March 10, 2023, 1:17 pm

      “Elias is the second child the Armstrong’s have lost to gunfire during an auto theft incident. Their 16-year-old son, Torrence McCall, died in mid-October in Westminster during a police pursuit. Police said McCall shot himself, but Moore-Armstrong questions that outcome, telling reporters that the bullet hit the back of his head. She knows he did wrong but does not believe that the boys deserved to die.”

      Sounds like a dearth of parenting runs rampant in that family.

  • Gary G Martin March 10, 2023, 12:25 pm

    This is Happy Ending story because the young thug was taken out of the human gene pool and hopefully did not get a chance to reproduce. By dying young countless victims will not suffer from his criminal activity in the future. Also, it is a Happy Ending story because the victim got to go home to his family.

  • Mike in a Truck March 10, 2023, 11:57 am

    Raise a little thug monster then blame the little creeps victim for finishing the final phase of his upbringing. The car owner should immediately sue the father of that little crimminal.

  • jerry March 10, 2023, 11:56 am

    A couple things. It seems the guy just wanted his car back. Why would he open fire and shoot holes in his car unless he was fired upon? Also, I have a philosophy about owning and driving expensive cars in the city: Don’t! Stay safe.

  • Dan Clayburn March 10, 2023, 11:48 am

    Sad a 12 year was killed. BUT, we need MORE of this. It is only when resistance rises to the level of need will things change. In this case, where was the Father, if you want to really call him that, I don’t. Perhaps sperm donor is more appropriate. This was kids committing a crime and they did not expect consequences, thus the result.

  • Viet Vet March 10, 2023, 11:48 am

    One less thug on the streets today. And it’s not a clip, it’s a magazine.

  • Bemused Berserker March 10, 2023, 11:37 am

    Dad’s wrong. With an attitude like that, no wonder his son died in the commission of a Felony.

  • G. Warren March 10, 2023, 11:35 am

    Mr. Armstrong: Where were you while your 12 year old was roaming the streets in a stolen car with a gun? What have you been teaching your boy about respecting other people’s property? What kind of example have you been to him about being a good law abiding citizen? Have you been a father to him or were you just a sperm donor? I suspect that he more or less raised himself with little input from responsible adults. Try putting the blame where it belongs…on the guy in the mirror.

  • Charles B Goldsmith March 10, 2023, 11:13 am

    I think more vigilante justice is needed. Kill or be killed.

  • Big Al March 10, 2023, 11:05 am

    Acting like a Vigilante? Who gives a $hit? The 12 y/o was acting like a criminal. Where was Daddy to prevent this?

  • bobsyouruncle March 10, 2023, 10:49 am

    Criminal gangs use these kids, because if they’re caught nothing much is gonna happen to them. If you choose a life of crime, you might as well get an early start.

  • LJ March 10, 2023, 10:44 am

    Well, here we go again. Another ‘little Johnny’ out terrorizing the community at 3 o’clock in the morning, 12 years old no doubt, and armed. Where were ‘little Johnny’s’ parents? Hey BLM folks in the hood, this is what happens when you let the streets raise your 8 spawns of satan. Thankfully this one was removed from the gene-pool before he could spread his terror, AND it saves the taxpayers $1200 per month. But who knows – he could already be a ‘baby-daddy’. Comment too harsh? Sorry …

  • Alan1018 March 10, 2023, 10:29 am

    It seems the young criminal valued the victim’s car more than he valued his own lifr.

  • Carl March 10, 2023, 10:29 am

    Wrong move here. Once the car was located Denver P.D. should have been called to take over. Right now in Denver or any of the front range cities of Colofornia any type of firearm related issues justifiable or not will be scrutinized to the Nth degree. The assitant D.A. was salivating to prosecute the owner of the car.

    • Bemused Berserker March 10, 2023, 11:42 am

      Sadly, you’re correct. From Pueblo to North of Denver, the I-25 Corrider Communities are all Communes of Denvervrad.

      It’s why I moved to a Conservative rural community in Commierado, to spend my remaining years.

  • Gordon March 10, 2023, 10:25 am

    If you’ve ever had your house broken into or your car stolen, and you call the police. They say there’s not much they can do, or they stopped investigating those crimes, sometimes they won’t even take a report. You have to go down to the police station, give them your ID to fill out a report. They run your name for warrants and lecture you about the consequences of filling out a false report.

    If your grass gets too high, or you rent out a spare bedroom in your home, or have a garage sale with a lemonade stand. They will send men with guns to enforce city ordinances. Arrest your children, question them about any firearms Mommy, or Daddy might have in the home. Raid your house, confiscate your legal firearms, put your children in foster homes and charge you with child endangerment.. Don’t believe me? Google “Guns seized, children taken”

    The Cops will hold you back while your children, are murdered.

  • Greg McMinn March 10, 2023, 10:15 am

    Justice served. Car owner is not guilty. Another life criminal relieved of a future of crime. Good job.

  • Bidenisanasshat March 10, 2023, 10:14 am

    Kid got exactly what he deserved

  • Joe Cortina March 10, 2023, 10:06 am

    Better wake up people These are not ‘KIDS” they are street animals thieves and thugs who would kill you and your family without a thought. stealing a persons meas of transportation is NOT a PRANK. It is a SERIOUS CRIME and needs to be treated as such. I had may car stolen years ago. by some negro ‘YUTS” They were caught and in a conversation with the judge who asked me what I believed their punishment should have been.

    I told him this: If we wanted REAL justice a punishment that would be FAR more effective than being locked up in a cage. Allow the punk to pay for all of my ,money damages. AND to NOT allow any friends or family to pay reparation to me. the punk thief had to do it himself. And if the irresponsible parents of this irresponsible thug complained that how could he get a job? TOUGH SHIT! He could mow yards or pick up trash or what ever he could to do to PAY FoR HIS CONDUCT!

    he would work until EVERY DOLLAR WAS PAID – including court costs. THEN and ONLY THEN would he realize the full consequences of his crime – and possibly return to society as a person who DID INDEED LEARN HIS LESSON!

  • Johne March 10, 2023, 9:59 am

    Where are the Child Neglect and Child endangerment charges that should be filed against the parent(s). A 12 year old had access to a gun.

  • Dick March 10, 2023, 9:57 am

    Given that law enforcement is unable to stop this stuff, civilian participation is in order.

  • Brick March 10, 2023, 9:47 am

    Stupid game, stupid prize. The shoot was righteous.

  • Snugs45 March 10, 2023, 9:43 am

    And this from the D/A,
    McCann said she met with the family last week to explain the decision which she said is based on the “self-defense issues which were present at the time.” ISSUES? What the “issue” with defending yourself or property?
    You fuck around, you find out! A 12yo pos assumes room temp, sounds like a WIN for society!
    No sympathy for for crimminals no matter their age, Now charge the parents for these bastards crimes, hold them accountable!

  • Bruce March 10, 2023, 9:33 am

    Let’s get the situation in the proper order. These “kids” decided that stealing this vehicle was worth their lives.

  • DG March 10, 2023, 9:32 am

    When criminals get shot or injured or killed, it’s their own fault. If they’re committing a crime, they get what they deserve. Doesn’t matter if he’s got a kid or not. Your car jack and get shot. Than if they survive, jail.
    For far too long the Democrats and left I’ve had an easy on crime. Let the criminals go so they think they can do as they please without consequences. As long past time that changes.

    • DG March 10, 2023, 9:35 am

      Not sure why my previous comment posted before I was finished. Age should not matter!

  • Vernon Ruth March 10, 2023, 9:23 am

    If at 12 years of age some ‘kid’ can steal a car, be in possession of a firearm and shoot at the rightful owner, that rightful owner saved the rest of us from some punk who was definitely headed towards a lifetime of crime. It’s that ‘kid’s’ “Parents” who should be charged with raising (?) that kid with so little sense of responsibility that he’d even think – much less DO – such a thing. Leave the lawful car owner alone and get those parents!! Justice was served!

  • David March 10, 2023, 9:21 am

    Were are the child neglect resulting in death charges against the parents? Were are the firearm charges? Was the firearm stolen? When will the other criminals in the stole car be charged with murder? When will their parents be charged? And will they be charged with murder? Sounds like the criminals had more then one firearm. Who’s getting charged for those? And this P.O.S. District Attorney needs to be fired and hired in the by the Public Defenders Office where the criminals are the victims. Colorado is becoming the next cesspool behind California.

  • LMB March 10, 2023, 9:21 am

    Need to throw the father of the 12yo in jail for raising a criminal!!! 12 years old and stealing cars!! Whats next killing someone like the guy who came after the punk!

  • Joey March 10, 2023, 9:19 am

    Stealing cars one day….Rape & Murder the next. Parents best start taking responsibility for what they raised. Liberal 101

  • Gutsy63 March 10, 2023, 9:13 am

    At 12 years old stealing cars and with a gun! WTF!? That parent needs to shut the hell up! So much of this is on him. You can not tell me the parent/s had no idea how had the kid was. If that child is ready to do this at 12, what would he have done as he grew up. Guess we will never know. 🤷‍♂️

  • Phil March 10, 2023, 9:01 am

    First thing I noticed was the time stamp on the video. Was it really about 3am? What on earth was that 12 yo doing out at that hour? If his parents really cared about him, they would have had some control. Obviously, that was not the case because the boy was out at that hour. The firearm issue already was brought up. Wonder why vigilantism is brought up when individuals assert their rights. A town in Florida had to remove the prohibition of
    weapons from their emergency ordinance due to state law pre-emption. The Mayor was upset and said the town would be ruled by vigilantes when the paragraph was removed!

  • eagle10 March 10, 2023, 8:27 am

    Another one bites the dust! Hey Hey

    • Joey March 10, 2023, 9:19 am


    • Trevor_Philips March 17, 2023, 3:06 am

      And another one gone…

  • Dr Motown March 10, 2023, 7:58 am

    The dead thief’s older brother had died a few months before in a similar incident…..apparently the father never learned the importance of teaching kids not to steal and shoot at people 🙄

  • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 7:55 am

    Same old bunk story, daddy’s little angel was on the verge of turning his dead end criminal life around and planning on attending rocket surgery college?

    • Joey March 10, 2023, 9:21 am

      Agreed, parents not taking responsibility. It’s always someone else’s fault.

  • DIYinSTL March 10, 2023, 7:49 am

    And … what was 12 year old Elias Armstrong doing out of the house at 3 A.M. on a Sunday Morning? Daddy Thomas Armstrong should spend some time thinking about his lack of parenting skills.

  • Cirus March 10, 2023, 7:29 am

    I’m sure he was such a sweet boy.

    • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 7:56 am

      I hope he likes it hot.

  • Thoughtful March 10, 2023, 7:08 am

    So DA McCann feels sympathy for the piece of sh*t father? How about the DA asking what kind of human being raises a 12 year old stealing cars and shooting guns at other people. THAT is the crux of liberals problems. Now, because Armstrong raised a criminal(wonder where he learned that) another man has to live with killing a kid…. A kid raised to be a criminal by a criminal. The POS Armstrong should be held liable for all financial issues related to this whole sordid affair. Up to, and including counseling for the victim who had to protect himself because the feckless State is represented by someone like DA McCann. A DA that doesn’t seem to have the common sense a normal 12 year old possesses. Color me not surprised if they charge the car owner.

  • Thoughtful March 10, 2023, 7:04 am

    So DA McCann feels sympathy for the piece of sh*t father? How about the DA asking what kind of human being raises a 12 year old stealing cars and shooting guns at other people. THAT is the crux of liberals problems. Now, because Armstrong raised a criminal(wonder where he learned that) another man has to live with killing a kid…. A kid raised to be a criminal by a criminal. The POS Armstrong should be held liable for all financial issues related to this whole sordid affair. Up to, and including counseling for the victim who had to protect himself because the State(who is feckless) is represented by someone like DA McCann.

  • Andrew March 10, 2023, 7:02 am

    This is a perfect example of how the left has perverted everything in this country. The victim is now always the bad guy. G-d forbid you should defend yourself from a criminal, and everyone that does something bad is the new victim.
    Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. We need more people armed & defending themselves & their hard earned property. Then maybe people will start teaching their kids that there are consequences for their bad behavior.

  • Wes James March 10, 2023, 6:47 am

    Lessee… a 12 year old with a gun stealing a car… in what reality does this kid- or his parents deserve any sympathy? Parents- where’d he get a gun?? Why didn’t you teach him that this was just absolutely wrong??? As the old saying goes, You f— with the bull- you get the horns.

    • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 7:57 am

      Dad’s a pea poor father, a massive failure at parenting. You punk got what he deserves.

  • Slim March 10, 2023, 6:30 am

    ONE LESS PUKE who DESERVED to die! He ALREADY committed at LEAST ONE FELONY by stealing the car in the first place AND THEN MANY MORE the second the NOW GLADLY DEAD AS CAN BE LOSER THEIF CHOSE… CHOSE to use a gun I BET is his fathers to SHOOT AT THE GUY WHO WANTS HIS STUFF BACK!!!!! And WHY isn’t the father being charged since he either KNEW where he was and didn’t care he’s STEALING CARS, OR didn’t care at all and let the kid run amuck which had the father been a REAL FATHER the rule ALWAYS was when the street lights come on bring your ace home where if the MORON CAR THEIF was he’d still be alive! SO THANK YOU UNNAMED MAN WHO ENDED THAT THEIFS LIFE SINCE 100% he would of eventually killed someone while trying to steal their stuff, just like he ALMOST did this time to the poor guy who JUST WANTED HIIIIIIIS car back!

    PLAY STUPID GAMES, WIN STUPID PRIZES MORONS!!!!! Hope he liked the LED and COPPER he TOOK WITH HIM! NOT a prize I EVER want which is why I’m NOT A LOSER THEIF!!!!!

  • Roland March 10, 2023, 5:13 am

    A good ending to a p.o.s. thief. And with the car thief being 12 the parents should be held responsible for the car theft and their p.o.s. kids death. When you raise your kids to be garbage you end up with garbage for kids.

    • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 7:58 am

      Just like potato presidents and tyrant governors, plenty of room for this evil kind in the everlasting fire.

  • Steve Glenn March 10, 2023, 5:07 am

    While I am and have been ALL my life a staunch 2nd amendment advocate and would use deadly force without hesitation if necessary, I would NEVER go looking for trouble and EVERY self defense expert I’ve ever heard has backed up that notion. I’ve always looked upon carrying a weapon for self defense as I do being a red belt in martial arts, the notion being AVOID CONFRONTATION IF AT ALL HUMANLY POSSIBLE. The man was absolutely justified in using deadly force if he was fired upon first (the video is inconclusive on that point), and yet what he SHOULD have done is contact the police and told them were to find his car and let them do the job they are trained to do. The young man would possibly still be alive today, and no matter what anybody says anger, macho bravado or a car is not worth a human life.

  • James Richards March 10, 2023, 4:25 am

    Dad Should have Taught His Kid Not to Steal or Drive Stolen Cars! Zero Sympathy.

    • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 7:59 am

      Less than zero.

  • jose jimenez March 10, 2023, 2:58 am

    Good job of parenting there mr. and mrs. thomas armstrong. 12 years old, hmmm.
    Well, the upside is that it will save us taxpayers a LOT of money over the next decades by not having to support the little turd for the rest of his life after he convicted in the future as an adult for some really serious felony., because that is where it was heading.

  • survivor50 March 7, 2023, 2:51 pm

    You aren’t allowed to stop or delay anyone robbing you and you’re not allowed to FIND your stolen property, or try to retrieve it … JUST SUCK IT UP BUTTER CUP !!!

    But bringing your 12 year old to a GRAND THEFT AUTO reality event, as the GET AWAY DRIVER is PERFECTLY NATURAL !!!

    A 12 year old, behind the wheel of YOUR stolen car, at NIGHT, … shooting at you … is perfectly acceptable …

    • Rafael March 10, 2023, 7:18 am

      I have no empathy or sympathy for the kids or his dad. I would have and will do the same thing myself. I do not fear the court, especially when I am in the right.

      • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 8:02 am

        Less than zero sympathy from me. Snot got what he deserves.

  • paul I'll call you what I want/1st Amendment March 7, 2023, 12:25 pm

    Hey Denver ass-clowns quit siding with the criminals! The parents should pay for all the damages to include the spent ammo!!! Lets do the math here only one who got hit was the driver, well thats because he was the only one there and did the initial shooting.

    • krinkov545 March 10, 2023, 8:03 am

      What else can you expect from a f a g g o t governor?

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