VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A 14-year-old girl was shot multiple times Tuesday after pulling a gun on deputies who spent almost two hours trying to reason with her, officials said.
Deputies around 5 p.m. responded to the 1000 block of Enterprise Osteen Road in Enterprise.
The girl and a 12-year-old boy ran away from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home and broke into a home on Osteen Enterprise Road with multiple guns inside, Sheriff Mike Chitwood said during a news conference.
Deputies were met with gunfire “multiple times” without initially returning fire Chitwood said. At one point, deputies threw a cellphone into the home to communicate with the children, but multiple attempts to de-escalate the situation were unsuccessful.
The situation spanned several hours, Chitwood said.
Around 8:40 p.m., the girl emerged from the home saying she was going to kill the sergeant, Chitwood said.
The girl later pointed a shotgun at the deputies from the garage at one point and, after not dropping it as instructed by law enforcement, deputies opened fire.
The girl is “fighting for her life” at a nearby hospital, Chitwood said.
At one point, the boy was holding an AK-47 but eventually dropped it, Chitwood said. The boy was also a diabetic and requires frequent insulin, Chitwood said.
Neither the boy nor the deputies were hurt, Chitwood said.
The 14-year-old girl was previously arrested for stealing puppies and then set fire to the halfway home she was sent to in Flagler County, Chitwood said.
Chitwood was emotional during the news conference, calling the halfway home the children came from a “failure.”
“Where have we gone wrong that a 12-year-old and 14-year-old think it’s OK to take on law enforcement?” Chitwood said. “What the hell is the Department of Juvenile Justice doing sending these kids to places that can’t handle them?”
Watch the news conference below. Warning: Contains graphic language.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters that the armed assault on law enforcement from two children was “something I’ve never seen in 35 years in policing.”
“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,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision, somebody would have ended up dead.”
“I don’t know where we get the men and women who respond to these incidents, who do what they do, and do it with bravery, do it with courage, and do it while trying to protect the sanctity of human life,” he said. “But they took rounds – multiple, multiple rounds – until they were left with no other choice but to return fire.”
The Sheriff’s Office said it handled close to 300 calls at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in 2020. Last month, deputies said a 14-year-old boy at the group home pleaded no contest to a charge of manslaughter in the death of a security officer he struck during an altercation in late March.
Charges against the the 14-year-old girl and the 12-year-old boy are pending.
Deputies said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded to the scene to conduct an investigation into the incident, as is standard in deputy-involved shooting cases. The deputies involved will be temporarily placed on paid administrative leave, which is also standard protocol.
©2021 Cox Media Group