Girl, boy armed with AK-47 in shootout with Florida deputies

Reuters

Posted at Jun 03 2021 07:20 AM

Two children in Florida ran away from a group home, broke into a house and engaged in a shootout with law enforcement officers responding to the scene, authorities said on Wednesday.

A 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl found guns inside a home they broke into in Enterprise, Florida, and fired on sheriff's deputies, the Volusia County sheriff's office said in a statement.

The girl was shot and wounded after she pointed a shotgun at deputies.

"The 12-year-old boy, armed with an AK-47, finally put down his weapon shortly thereafter and was not injured," the sheriff's statement said.

Body cam footage released on Wednesday showed deputies hiding behind trees as shots rang out around them. The footage of when the girl was shot was blurred. The audio of the video painted a frantic scene as deputies rushed to provide medical aid to the girl, who was screaming in pain.

She underwent surgery and was in stable condition, authorities said. No sheriff's deputies were hurt in the Tuesday night shooting.

Unspecified charges against the children are pending, according to the sheriff's department.

The children had run away from Florida United Methodist Children's Home in Enterprise on Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff's department said.

A few hours later, they broke into a home. Passersby reported hearing glass breaking at the home, and alerted the deputies.

The officers surrounded the home. At that point gunfire erupted from the house, the sheriff's statement said. The home contained a handgun, a shotgun and the AK-47, along with a large amount of ammunition.

Over the course of 35 minutes there were four exchanges of gunfire.

"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," said Volusia County sheriff Mike Chitwood.

The sheriff said the girl had a record and last year was arrested for lighting several vacant lots on fire.

During a Wednesday press conference, Chitwood blasted Florida's juvenile justice system as being broken. He noted that violent teenage offenders are often put into group homes not trained to handle them. He said the girl involved in the shooting should not have been placed in the home she escaped from. 

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