VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood is calling out the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice after deputies say a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl ran away from a group home, broke into a house, and got into a shootout with deputies Tuesday night.
Chitwood said when his deputies tried to take in the 14-year-old for allegedly sitting fires, but the department of juvenile justice released her because her crimes were not serious enough.
Less than a month and a half later, Chitwood said that girl was breaking into a home and shooting at his deputies.
Deputies said the 14-year-old’s record includes stealing puppies and setting several small fires near some homes in Flagler County.
The sheriff’s office said the 12-year-old who was involved underwent three mental health evaluations through the state’s Baker Act and threatened a school administrator and student.
“We are not saying we do not believe in a holistic approach to juvenile crime: absolutely, positively. when you have somebody who wants to do big-boy crimes and big-girl crimes, treat them accordingly,” Chitwood said.
He is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to get involved and fix the system.