A Hartford, Connecticut man saw his wife's car stolen from their home's driveway on November 13. The theft of the vehicle led to an altercation between the owner and a 17-year-old teenage car thief. The teen was shot in the face based on the local reporting of The Hartford Courant. Neither the victim nor the perpetrator has been named by police.

A teenage car thief shot in the face

The incident began at 7:45 AM when the victim saw his vehicle, a 2001 Ford Taurus, being driven away by an unknown assailant. The victim called 911 to report the crime and then set out on his own to attempt to locate the stolen car.

After scouring, at random, various neighborhoods the car owner came into contact with the vehicle about 90 minutes later. A 17-year-old was behind the wheel of the vehicle. The victim approached the vehicle and demanded the teen exit, but the teen brandished what the teen later admitted to police was a bb gun.

The victim, who was armed, drew an actual handgun and fired at the teen through the vehicle's front driver side window. The victim shot the teen in the face, but the teen was able to escape and drove away. The victim was licensed to carry the handgun and called 911 again to report he had fired his weapon and had shot someone.

Police received a call at about 9:30 AM to report a bloody teenager who was 10 blocks from the scene of the shooting.

When police arrived the teen claimed he had been shot in a drive-by shooting and was taken into custody. The bullet shot by the victim went through one side of the teen's cheek and lodged itself in the interior of the teen's jawbone. The wound was not life-threatening. The teen was arrested at the scene on an active warrant for a previous car theft.

The teen's bb gun was not recovered.

The teen's history of past car thefts

Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian Foley said the teen has a history of stealing cars. WWLP, an NBC affiliate, quoted Foley as saying, "I just saw our auto theft detective upstairs. I said, ‘Brandon, do you know this kid?’ He is like, 'Yeah, we just chased him two weeks ago he fled from police and ditched the car in Government Park and got away.'"

Legal ramifications of the incident

Charges have not yet been filed against the teen, nor against the car owner.

Police are still investigating the incident but believe the car owner was acting in Self-defense. The shooting is another in a long list of Americans using defensive gun use to protect themselves. Connecticut does not have a 'Stand Your Ground' self-defense law and has different legal standards for citizens using ordinary or deadly force. Under Connecticut law Sec. 53a-19 for a citizen to be legally justified in using deadly force they have to reasonably believe that their lives are in danger, but they also have a duty to retreat from danger if it is possible to do so. Prosecutors will likely be looking at if the owner would have been able to retreat before determining to file charges.

Connecticut does not have a specific law against car theft and instead considers nearly any form of theft to be larceny.

The degree of larceny can be anywhere from the first to sixth-degree depending on the value of what was stolen. First through third-degree larceny are felonies and can be charged if the vehicle stolen was worth at least $10,000 to $20,000. Given that a 2001 Ford Taurus does not fetch a large price the teen will likely be charged with fourth-degree larceny, a class A misdemeanor. As defined under Connecticut law Sec. 53a-125 the stolen value of the property must exceed $1,000. Those convicted of a class A misdemeanor face maximum sentence of 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine.