VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - Body camera video has been released of what Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood called a shootout between two juveniles who ran away from a children's group home and the deputies who found them.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl ran away from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home on Tuesday night. The boy was said to be diabetic and did not have his medication with him.
They said that deputies were searching the Enterprise area when a witness reported hearing glass break at a home. The homeowners were contacted and they said that no one should be home. They also informed them that there was a handgun, shotgun, AK-47, and ammunition inside.
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After breaking into the home, the children reportedly armed themselves with several of the homeowner's guns and opened fire from the garage on several responding duties who tried to talk them into surrendering. They opened fire on a reported four instances over 35 minutes.
Eventually, deputies said that the 14-year-old girl came out of the garage, pointed the shotgun at deputies twice, and was shot and wounded. Life-saving aid was provided. The 12-year-old boy was armed with an AK-47 but was said to have eventually put his weapon down. He was not injured.
"After all this goes on and we try to de-escalate, we throw a cell phone into the house to try to talk to them. The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputies, and despite warnings to drop it, she walks back into the garage. She comes back a second time and that's when deputies opened fire after taking multiple rounds. After they wound her, they automatically transition to try to save her life," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said on Tuesday night.
They added that the girl was transported to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was said to be out of surgery and in stable condition. She is receiving further treatment at another hospital. The boy was also taken to a hospital but not because of injuries received during the incident. He was also questioned by law enforcement.
"Deputies did everything they could tonight to de-escalate, and they almost lost their lives to a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old," Volusia County Sheriff Chitwood said. "If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision… Somebody would have ended up dead."
He added, "I don’t know where we get the men and women who respond to these incidents, who do what they do, and do it with bravery, do it with courage, and do it while trying to protect the sanctity of human life… But they took rounds – multiple, multiple rounds – until they were left with no other choice but to return fire."
Sheriff Mike Chitwood spoke again on Wednesday afternoon.
He said that according to the 12-year-old boy, the 14-year-old girl told him, "I'm going to roll this down like GTA," also known as the video, Grand Theft Auto.
The Sheriff went on to go over the children's records. He claimed that while the 12-year-old does not have a criminal history, he has had several incidents while in foster care. He said that the boy made two transient threats in school. For example, he threatened to throw a brick at an administrator and also threatened to kill a student.
The 14-year-old girl has had several arrests though, Sheriff Chitwood said. She previously arrested in 2018 for stealing puppies and the court recommended teen court but the youth failed to comply. She later set five fires in a wooded lot that came close to several homes but she was released back to her mother. She was eventually placed into foster care.
"This is what the issue is. We're arresting these kids in the state of Florida for violent crimes and the Department of Justice wants to put them into places that can't handle them," he added. "The juvenile justice system is broke. We need to face facts… what we're doing is not working."
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