Police deputies in Volusia County, Florida say a 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl broke into a house, then fired at police officers with guns they found inside.
CNN reports the children ran away from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home on Tuesday. Authorities were searching for the two when reports led them to a nearby home. Someone informed deputies they heard glass shattering, and upon closer inspection of the home in question they discovered someone had made a forceful entry. When deputies contacted the owner of the house, the owner said it should be empty and that there were multiple firearms inside, including a pump shotgun and an AK-47 assault rifle.
The police proceeded to surround the house, not knowing who was inside, and when they attempted to engage with the children they were met with gunfire. Over the course of the next 35 minutes, the children fired at the deputies four different times. The 14-year-old girl later left the home and threatened to kill one of the officers, which led to her getting shot twice, in the arm and abdomen.
“We try to deescalate, we throw a cell phone into the house to try to talk to them,” recalled Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood. “The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputies, 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.”
The teen is currently in the hospital with critical injuries, while the boy was taken in unharmed.
“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,” Chitwood continued. “They took rounds—multiple, multiple rounds—before they were left with no other choice but to return fire. … If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision…somebody would have ended up dead.”