VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — A 14-year-old girl was shot Tuesday evening when she pointed a shotgun at deputies during a shootout that she and a 12-year-old boy had with deputies, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the boy, who was armed with an AK-47 assault rifle, put down the weapon and was uninjured.
Both children, identified as Nicole Jackson, 14, and Travis O’Brien, 12, fired at deputies several times while deputies tried to peacefully resolve the incident, Chitwood said. No deputies were injured.
Deputies said both Jackson and O’Brien are charged with attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary of a dwelling.
Deputies said prior to the shootout, the pair were reported as runaways from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home shortly before 5 p.m.
Investigators said the O’Brien is diabetic and didn’t have his medication with him. They said it was also reported that Jackson hit a staff member with a stick.
Deputies said the children broke into a house on Enterprise Osteen Road around 7:30 p.m.
The homeowner told deputies that no one should be at the home and that there was a handgun, a shotgun and an AK-47 inside, along with a large amount of ammunition.
The homeowner told Channel 9 he left the home with his three daughters for 20 minutes to grab groceries. He said they returned to their house swarmed by deputies and the sound of gunfire.
He said he’s lucky he convinced his youngest daughter to go with them to the store or she would have been home at the time.
Investigators said the children took baseball bats to tubs, toilets, and furniture inside the home.
He said his guns where hidden in the home and estimates the damage done inside to be close to $100,000. He said he does not have insurance.
Deputies said they have no explanation yet for why the children ran off from the group home or why they chose his home to break into.
Deputies surrounded the home and began making announcements near the house when the children started shooting.
They said the children fired at deputies on four separate occasions.
When Jackson came out of the garage, she pointed the shotgun at deputies twice and was shot, officials said.
After she was shot, deputies said they moved in to provide life saving aid.
Deputies said O’Brien, who was in the garage armed with the AK-47, surrendered without firing another shot.
Jackson was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital with life-threatening injuries. She underwent surgery and is in stable condition.
O’Brien was also taken to a hospital for his medical condition. He did not sustain any injuries during the shootout.
Chitwood told reporters during a news conference late Tuesday that the sustained, 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,” he said. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision … somebody would have ended up dead.”
Chitwood said he was proud of the deputies’ restraint.
“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.”
Deputies said they responded to almost 300 calls from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home last year.
Watch Chitwood discuss the case below (warning: Contains graphic language):
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