TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — One of the suspects in a wild Volusia County shootout involving deputies and two young people has been offered a plea deal of 20 years in prison, according to a law enforcement source.
One of the shooters is now 15, and charged as an adult. 8 On Your Side is not identifying her.
A woman who befriended the teenage suspect says she spent hours with her on the phone after the story made headlines.
“She’s not a devil child as was previously portrayed on the news. She’s not like that. I talk to her, she’s a very sweet girl,” said Jean Bailey of DeLand.
Body camera footage released last June shows Volusia County deputies under fire for approximately 35 minutes. At the time, Sheriff Michael Chitwood identified the suspects as two children: a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy.
Sheriff Chitwood said the duo ran away from a group facility, broke into a home and opened fire on responding deputies.
“These kids are killers, they’re capable of killing,” said Sheriff Chitwood.
A law enforcement source now tells 8 On Your Side the state has offered the older suspect a plea deal. The girl, who turned 15 behind bars, must agree to 20 years in prison.
Previously-released court records show the girl had a troubled childhood before the shootout. She was in and out of foster homes and multiple brushes with the law.
In the June incident, she was shot by deputies after they say she pointed a gun at them.
Bailey says she often talks with the teen by phone. Like the girl, Bailey spent time in foster care.
“This child has already had a rough life,” said Bailey. “I understand the situation and what a terrible situation it was, but no officers were hurt.”
“Today she’s still remorseful but I think if she had been supervised and she had not been neglected, maybe this whole situation wouldn’t have happened at at all,” she added.
The 7th Circuit State Attorney’s Office declined to comment. The case is due back in court next month.
The other suspect stayed in the juvenile justice system so he will do a fraction of the time.