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VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities have released body camera footage showing the tense moments surrounding a shootout between Florida deputies and two children armed with an AK-47 and a shotgun.
The shootout happened Tuesday night in Enterprise, an unincorporated community in Volusia County. According to deputies, a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl opened fire on deputies after breaking into a home.
The sheriff’s office says the incident started when the two children ran away from Florida United Methodist Children’s Home earlier in the evening. Later, while deputies were out searching for the children, a witness reported hearing glass break at a home on Enterprise Osteen Road.
Deputies say they approached the home and saw two figures inside. When they contacted the homeowner, deputies learned no one was supposed to be in the house and there was “a handgun, a shotgun and an AK-47 inside, along with a large amount of ammunition.”
After speaking with the homeowner, deputies surrounded the home and started making announcements to try and contact whoever was inside. That’s when the sheriff’s office says the children started shooting at deputies.
According to the sheriff’s office, the 12-year-old boy was armed with an AK-47 and the 14-year-old girl was armed with a shotgun. Deputies say the children shot at them four separate times throughout the incident.
The 14-year-old girl was eventually shot when she came out of the garage and pointed the shotgun at deputies, according to the sheriff’s office. The boy surrendered.
According to a post on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, the 14-year-old girl was taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. She was out of surgery and in “stable condition” as of Tuesday night, the post says.
“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 Mike Chitwood said. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision…somebody would have ended up dead.”
Both children are facing charges of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary.
During a news conference on Wednesday evening, Sheriff Chitwood had strong words about the idea of restorative justice.
“I think you need to look at the system because if you look at what’s going on here – in South Florida, what are they looking for right now? Teenagers that shot 20 people, killed two. Atlanta – last week, a 10 to 12-year-old carjacked a city councilman,” he said. “Restorative justice is getting people killed and getting people hurt.”
“Anybody that sits back and tells you that we’re a model in the state of Florida – we’re a failure in the state of Florida, just like every other state that embarks on this measure,” he continued. “We’re not saying we don’t believe in a holistic approach to juvenile crime. Absolutely positively. But when you got somebody who wants to do big-boy crimes or big-girl crimes, then treat them accordingly. Don’t try to mollycoddle them and pat them on the head and say if we hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ we’re gonna change your behavior. It’s not going to happen. They laugh at us.”
Chitwood said lawmakers in Tallahassee need to take action.
“I think the legislature needs to get off its a**. Stop going to cocktail hours when they’re in session, and come out and ride with the boots on the ground. Work with the juvenile justice coordinators. Get out on the street and, more importantly, talk to the victims of juvenile crime,” he said. “So I would tell the legislators get out, stop listening to special interest groups and see what’s really going on out there.”