Two children are facing attempted murder charges in Florida after they allegedly broke into a home and used several guns they found inside, including an AK-47, to stage an armed standoff with sheriff’s deputies.
“A 12-year-old opened fire on us,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at a news conference late Tuesday. “A 14-year-old opened fire on us with a shotgun and then walked out and threatened one of my sergeants and told him she was going to kill him.”
Chitwood described the pair as a young “Bonnie and Clyde,” the infamous bank-robber couple, and characterized the shootout as “unbelievable.” He also expressed relief that no one was killed, and railed against the state’s juvenile justice system for not housing the pair in a safer facility.
“Where have we gone wrong that a 12-year-old and a 14-year-old think it’s OK to take on law enforcement?” he said.
Police say the wild incident played out on Tuesday night, after the boy, 12, and the girl, 14, ran away from a local foster home. Staff at the home called police because they were worried that the boy, who has diabetes, would suffer a medical emergency if he did not get his insulin shot within a few hours.
Deputies were searching the residential area when a bystander reported hearing the sound of glass being smashed nearby. The deputies went to investigate and found obvious signs of forced entry at the home, according to Sheriff Chitwood.
The deputies contacted the homeowner and learned that the house was not occupied. They were also told that the homeowner had left an AK-47, a pump shotgun, a handgun and approximately 200 rounds of ammunition inside, according to records obtained by local broadcaster ClickOrlando.
The children allegedly smashed much of the furniture inside, found the guns and then opened fire on the deputies. They hit one officer, Sgt. Donnie Maxwell, “multiple times,” then fired several shots while deputies surrounded the home, Chitwood said.
Police say the pair fired at deputies on four separate occasions over a period of 35 minutes.
“At 8:40 p.m., the 14-year-old emerges from the property and threatens to kill Sgt. Maxwell,” Chitwood said. “At 8:54 p.m., the juvenile male, armed with an AK-47, opens fire on deputies.”
The sheriff added that his deputies initially held their fire and instead tried to de-escalate the situation.
But things changed when the girl walked out with the gun, Chitwood said.
“The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputies and despite warnings to drop it, she walked back into the garage, she comes back a second time, and that’s when deputies opened fire after taking multiple rounds,” Chitwood said. “There was nothing left that we could do.”
The girl was struck in the arm and in the chest, Chitwood said. She was rushed to hospital with serious injuries and was later listed in stable condition.
The boy dropped the AK-47 less than a minute after the girl went down, Chitwood said.
The extent of Sgt. Maxwell’s injuries was not immediately clear. Police said no deputies were injured in the ensuing shootout. Chitwood hailed his deputies for showing restraint in the face of a hail of gunfire.
Both suspects are facing felony charges of armed burglary and attempted first-degree murder of law-enforcement officers, the sheriff’s office said.
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