The Denver father of a 12-year-old boy who was killed when a man found his stolen car and shot the boy inside the vehicle called Thursday for a new state law that would ban drivers to confront car thieves without the intervention of the police.
“It’s the job of the police, let the police do it,” said Thomas Armstrong, the father of 12-year-old Elias Armstrong. “No civilian should be able to find their car and be able to approach the vehicle. I want it to be called Elias’s Law.
Elias Armstrong was fatally shot on February 5 by a man who used a phone app to track his stolen Audi. The vehicle was stolen in northeast Denver and the man, who has not been publicly identified, followed it to the Sun Valley neighborhood, where he pulled over to the vehicle and drove off. sprinted on it.
An exchange of gunfire ensued, police said, and Elias Armstrong, who was in the stolen car, was fatally injured. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann declined to press charges against the owner of the vehicle.
Protesting outside his office on Thursday, Thomas Armstrong said the district attorney believed the man had a valid allegation of self-defense.
He rejected this position.
“I just don’t think it’s fair that he can take the law into his own hands, kill a child and have nothing happen to him,” said Thomas Armstrong.
Surveillance video of the shooting, which Armstrong shared with the Denver Post, shows the owner of the stolen vehicle stopping in the street next to his stolen car, parking and then sprinting to the driver’s side of the stolen car. as a person jumps into the driver’s seat and drives away. The shooting took place in less than 10 seconds.
Police said someone in the vehicle shot the man and the man also fired, although it is unclear who fired first. Thomas said he does not believe his son or the people in the car fired, as surveillance video does not show the owner of the vehicle dodging or flinching.
Elias was injured but drove a few blocks before stopping and being found by police. He was hospitalized and later died.
A family supporter who joined their protest on Thursday, Breeanna Wray, said they believe the shooter’s class and race played a role in McCann’s decision not to press charges.
“Was it a black man who ran and shot that car? He would be in jail,” she said.
A spokeswoman for the Denver district attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday, but prosecutors have previously said they don’t believe they can prove criminal charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
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