June 13, 2021

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Florida children, 14 and 12, ran away, stole guns, fired on deputies in shootout, sheriff says – NBC News

3 min read

A 14-year-old Florida girl was at a hospital Wednesday recovering from gunshot wounds after she and another child broke into a home and found guns they used to shoot at deputies, officials said.

The children, 14 and 12, ran away from a group home in Volusia County on Tuesday before breaking into the home, the sheriff’s office said.

Inside the house, the pair discovered a handgun, shotgun, what was described as an AK-47 style rifle, and ammunition, which they are accused of using on deputies who surrounded the home.

“Nobody comes to work to shoot and kill anybody. We certainly don’t come to work to get into gunfights with 12- and 14-year-olds,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a news conference.

Gunfire came from inside the home on several occasions over about 35 minutes, and the 14-year-old was shot after emerging from a garage and pointing the shotgun at deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

By Wednesday, she was out of surgery and stable at a hospital, it said. NBC News is not naming the children because of their ages.

No one else was injured in the incident, officials said.

Late Tuesday afternoon, about 5 p.m., the children were reported missing from the group home, the sheriff said.

About two and a half hours later, he said, deputies were informed of a break-in at a home and arrived to find shattered windows.

The deputies did not enter but contacted the homeowner, who said he was not home but that there were three guns and 200 rounds of ammunition inside.

Officials surrounded the house and announced their presence, the sheriff said, and around 8:30 p.m., the shooting started from inside the house toward the officers.

Chitwood praised the actions of his deputies and said they acted with restraint to try and de-escalate the situation. At one point, one threw a personal cell phone inside the house to try and communicate with the children.

“Nothing, nothing worked,” Chitwood said.

Parts of body camera and other video released by the sheriff’s office Wednesday recorded the sound of gunfire and showed a deputy taking cover behind a tree and telling others a long gun was being pointed at him.

At one point a radio transmission says, “hey guys, just hold behind hard cover, let’s not shoot these kids, man.”

Aerial video shows the shooting as the girl is near the garage. Video from the ground shows the boy surrendering with his hands up. Deputies then approach the girl on the ground and call for and render medical aid.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting, which the sheriff’s office said was standard.

The sheriff said “a minimum” of two dozen shots were fired at deputies, but that the FDLE investigation would shed more light on the exact details.

Eight deputies fired around 60 rounds during the incident, Chitwood said. All eight are on paid administrative leave, which the sheriff’s office said was also standard following shootings.

An emailed message to the organization that runs the group home the kids ran away from was not immediately returned Wednesday night.

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