Deputies in Volusia County, Florida, shot a 14-year-old girl on Tuesday night after she and a 12-year-old boy fled a group home, broke into a house, found multiple guns inside and then opened fire on deputies, according to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
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The girl was shot in the abdomen and the arm and is in stable condition, while the boy surrendered and was not injured, the sheriff’s office said.
“I don’t know what to say. Where have we gone wrong that a 12-year-old and 14-year-old think it’s okay to take on law enforcement?” Chitwood said.
The sheriff’s office on Wednesday released over 9 minutes of edited video showing footage from body-cameras and a helicopter looking down at the scene.
“She’s pointing the gun. She’s pointing the gun behind the trash can,” one officer says in the footage shortly before the deputies open fire.
Charging affidavits for the juveniles indicate they are charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary.
The boy is 4-foot-11-inches tall and weighs 78 pounds, while the girl is 5-foot-11-inches tall and weighs 140 pounds, the documents state.
The affidavits include details from an interview with the boy in which he admits to shooting repeatedly at officers using a handgun, a shotgun and an AK-47 that they had taken from the home.
He told investigators that they saw deputies outside the home, at which point the girl said, “I’m gonna roll this down like GTA,” referring to the video game Grand Theft Auto, according to the affidavits.
The startling spree of gunfire came as Sheriff Chitwood insisted deputies repeatedly tried to deescalate the situation, make personal contact with the juveniles, and were forced to hide behind trees amid waves of shooting.
“We try to deescalate, 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 open fire,” Chitwood said.
The boy has been in foster care since 2017, he said.
The sheriff said on Tuesday that the girl had burned down a home in April, but on Wednesday, he corrected himself, saying the girl had set fires in a wooded lot that came close to burning homes.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officers’ use of force at the request of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office, according to FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.
The FDLE will examine the facts of what happened, develop a time line and then provide information to the state attorney, who will make a determination about whether the use of force was justified, she said.