Man repeatedly says he will confront car thieves himself before fatal shootout with 12-year-old boy
What happened before a 12-year-old boy was killed in a shootout with a car owner is becoming more clear through body camera video obtained by 9NEWS as police continue to investigate the incident.
The footage captures a man who was frustrated with what he perceived as a slow response to his stolen vehicle he was tracking in real time using GPS.
“I'll do it myself if I have to, if that's what you guys really want,” the 35-year-old car owner said after showing police he could see his moving vehicle on his phone.
About 30 minutes after telling responding police about his stolen car, the man got into a shootout with armed occupants in his vehicle about 10 miles away.
The car owner, who has not been charged, became frustrated with dispatch and police because officers were not immediately chasing down his moving vehicle.
At least eight times in the video, the man tells the responding officers he plans to confront the thieves himself after growing more frustrated over having to file a police report.
“I can sit here and make a report with you right now to tell you about all this information, and then you guys can hopefully maybe one day find the vehicle,” the car owner says.
“Or I can go right now and stop the vehicle. So I'll call you when they're on the ground and then you guys come and get them. Super simple,” the man tells the officer.
“Doesn't work that way,” the responding officer tells the man. "There's a lot of liability to that. A lot of criminal allegations. Just because there's a property crime or you take someone down like that, or you'll be liable.”
The responding officer tells the man police often wait for stolen vehicles to stop moving to avoid problems like a high speed chase or crash that could hurt bystanders.
“And if they pull a rifle on me, then I’m justified,” the car owner told the officer.
About 30 minutes after the man filed a report, he is seen on security video recorded at West 10th Avenue and Decatur Street in which he pulls up next to his stolen car, dashes towards the driver side, and then gets into a shootout with the armed occupants.
The video captures gun smoke emanating from the car. 12-year-old Elias Armstrong was shot in the chest and was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.
The car owner claimed he was shot at first.
The Denver District Attorney’s Office said it does not plan to prosecute the car owner because a conviction is unlikely.
Denver police have said the other armed occupants in the vehicle ran away after the shooting, but so far there haven’t been any arrests. A department spokesperson said the case remains under investigation.
9NEWS is not naming the man because he has not been charged.