Volusia County

Volusia sheriff calls for DeSantis to intervene, fix juvenile justice system

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.

READ: ‘So full of hate’: Bodycam, aerial footage shows dramatic shootout after 2 children open fire on Volusia County deputies

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.

Photos: Body-camera, aerial images of shootout between Volusia County deputies and 2 kids

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.

READ: Timeline: Sheriff gives minute-by-minute details of shootout between children, deputies

He is asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to get involved and fix the system.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson, WFTV.com

Sarah Wilson joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2018 as a digital producer after working as an award-winning newspaper reporter for nearly a decade in various communities across Central Florida.