12-Year Old Boy In Shootout With Florida Deputies To Be Held In Detention As Dramatic Body Cam Video Is Released
VOLUSIA COUNTY (CBSMiami/CNN) – A 12-year-old boy, involved in a shootout with Volusia County deputies along with a 14-year-old girl, will be held in secure detention for 21 days. The boy had his first court appearance on Thursday, the same day deputies released body camera and aerial video of the shootout, after the kids ran away from a group home, broke into a nearby house, found multiple guns inside and then opened fire on deputies.
The footage shows Volusia County deputies responding to the scene Tuesday night.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood says the 12-year-old boy and 14-year-old girl broke into a house which contained three firearms.
According to Chitwood, the deputies surrounded the home and tried to talk with the two suspects.
However, the girl came out, threatening to kill the sergeant, and then started firing a weapon.
"She's pointing the gun. She's pointing the gun behind the trash can," one officer says in the footage shortly before the deputies open fire.
Watch police video:
The girl was shot in the abdomen and the arm and is in stable condition.
The teen boy surrendered and was not hurt.
"I don't know what to say. Where have we gone wrong that a 12-year-old and 14-year-old think it's OK to take on law enforcement?" Chitwood said.
They're both charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and armed burglary.
The affidavits include details from an interview with the boy in which he admits to shooting repeatedly at officers using a handgun, a shotgun, and an AK-47 that they had taken from the home. He told investigators that they saw deputies outside the home, at which point the girl said, "I'm gonna roll this down like GTA," referring to the video game "Grand Theft Auto," according to the affidavits.
The boy "told detectives he knew they were cops when he shot them because he wanted to harm them. There are the words of a 12-year-old," Chitwood said at a news briefing.
The startling spree of gunfire came as Chitwood insisted deputies repeatedly tried to deescalate the situation, make personal contact with the juveniles, and were forced to hide behind trees amid waves of shooting.
"We try to deescalate; we throw a cell phone into the house to try to talk to them. 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," Chitwood said.
The boy has been in foster care since at least 2017, according to the sheriff. He does not have a prior criminal history, but made two threats in school this year, once threatening to throw a brick at an administrator, and five days later threatening to kill a student and "spread his guts all over the bleachers," Chitwood said.
The sheriff said on Tuesday that the girl had burned down a home in April, but on Wednesday, he corrected himself, saying the girl had set fires in a wooded lot that came close to burning homes.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officers' use of force at the request of the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, according to FDLE spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.
The FDLE will examine the facts of what happened, develop a timeline, and then provide information to the state attorney, who will make a determination about whether the use of force was justified, she said.
At his press conference Tuesday, Chitwood praised his officers for their restraint in the face of waves 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," he said. "If it wasn't for their training and their supervision... somebody would have ended up dead."
The group home the kids ran away from, the Florida United Methodist Children's Home, was criticized by Sheriff Chitwood saying the sheriff's office handled close to 300 calls at the home in 2020. He also denounced the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice in particularly harsh terms, calling the department a "failure" and a "fraud."
"This situation is tragic and is the result of the system failing our children," Kitwana McTyer, the President and CEO of FUMCH, said in a press release. "These children are in desperate need of care in the appropriate setting, which is a higher level of care than we provide."
McTyer said the two juveniles had been in the Emergency Shelter Care program, which currently serves three children.
"As a result of this event, we will be placing a moratorium on our campus Emergency Shelter Care program for the next 30 days and then will cease to provide that service until such time if/when that we feel that we can do so in a safe manner for the children coming into care and simultaneously protect our staff who do a valiant job at caring for our children every day," McTyer said.
Juvenile justice officials said in an email that the children's home they ran away from is not a part of its program. "When a youth is arrested in Florida, the courts determine whether or not they are held in secure detention or released into the community," the statement said.
The 113-year-old facility is a child welfare home, not a secure care facility, according to McTyer.
"We simply cannot continue to be 'everything to everyone," McTyer's statement said. "From a personal perspective, this incident is shocking to me. In my 25 years working in child welfare service, I have never seen anything like this."
(©2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company, contributed to this report.)
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