A 14-year-old girl was shot by Florida deputies Tuesday night and sustained life-threatening injuries after she and another juvenile broke into a home filled with guns and opened fire on authorities, Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.
The incident unfolded around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday when a local juvenile home called to report a 12-year-old boy, a diabetic who depends on insulin, had run away with a 14-year-old girl, the Volusia County Sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The 14-year-old had a criminal history, which included allegedly stealing puppies and once burning down a home, Chitwood said.
Police posted bodycam footage of the incident on its official YouTube page.
Deputies immediately began searching for the teens, noting the 12-year-old’s insulin dependence. Chitwood said each time deputies managed to encounter the “desperados,” they ran away. A passerby flagged deputies down around 7:30 p.m., to report a nearby home had been broken into.
Authorities quickly discovered the homeowner was not home but had an AK-47, a handgun and a pump-gun inside along with 200 rounds of ammunition. (RELATED: Bodycam Footage Shows Police Fatally Shooting Mentally Ill Man Armed With Gun After Standoff)
Deputies surrounded the home but were met with gunfire, Chitwood said. Chitwood noted deputies were fired upon at least four separate times.
The 14-year-old emerged from the home at one point and threatened to kill Sgt. Donnie Maxwell, according to Chitwood. Deputies shot the teen after she pointed a gun at deputies twice, police said.
“We try to deescalate, we throw a cell phone into the house to try to talk to them,” Chitwood said. “The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputes, and despite warnings to drop it, she walks back into the garage. She comes back a second time, and that’s when deputies open fire.”
Deputies quickly rendered aid to the girl while the 12-year-old, who was in the garage with the AK-47, surrendered.
“They took rounds – multiple, multiple rounds– until they were left with no other choice but to return fire,” Chitwood said.
“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. If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision … somebody would have ended up dead.”
The 14-year-old was taken to a local hospital with life-threatening injuries and is in stable condition following surgery, police said.
Chitwood criticized the the juvenile home, Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, noting the sheriff’s office received nearly 300 calls in 2020.
All deputies involved in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave pending an ongoing investigation, the sheriff’s office said. Bodycam footage is expected to be released Wednesday.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis called the situation “really problematic” and said his office was also looking into the matter, according to CNN.