PINE HILLS, Fla. — Two teens were arrested after Orange County deputies say they shot out the back window of a squad car in Pine Hills Sunday afternoon.
Deputies said the two boys -- one 16, the other 17 -- were walking by the corner of Hernandes Drive and Golf Club Parkway near Barnett Park shortly before 5:45 p.m. when one shot the squad car with a BB gun after making eye contact with a deputy.
No one was injured and a nearby deputy did not return fire, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.
The deputy chased the two teenagers on foot, officials said. One ran into somebody's backyard, where he was apprehended.
The other teen ran into a house and then came out a short time later, deputies said.
The two suspects, who have not been identified, were arrested and are facing felony charges.
"A lot of kids out here have nothing to do. They're running around at night. Parents are working," said Ameer Davis, of Pine Hills' Stop the Violence initiative. "I think it's time for everybody to reach out to their teens and ... get them into these (community) programs."
Sydel Le Grande, founder of Changing the Game, an anti-violence organization, said local governments and community organizations must improve their outreach to children entangled in the criminal justice system.
"I hope it's a wake-up call for that particular child, but who knows how many wake-up calls he has to have," she said. "There's no justification for that."
Volunteer Kelvin Roundtree said stronger relationships between law enforcement officers and community members could be helpful.
He said he remembers summers when he saw officers on basketball courts more often than he saw them on the road.
"We had a good community and police relationship back when I was growing up, because there were so many programs in the area," Roundtree said. "There (were) even times (when) you had the police playing basketball games against career criminals ... (who were) trying to change their (lives)."
Community leaders also recommend getting children involved in organizations, such as a Boys & Girls Club, a YMCA, mentoring programs, church groups or community centers.
"For the kids (who) are getting in trouble, I'd just like to let them know that we do care," Davis said. "Some kids think that a lot of people in this community don't care."
Cox Media Group