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A 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl opened fire on Florida deputies with a shotgun and an AK-47 after running away from a juvenile group home, authorities said.
The girl was in stable condition after being shot twice late Tuesday after breaking into a Volusia County home and arming herself with several of the homeowner’s guns, Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters late Tuesday.
The teen was shot in the chest and arm after coming out of a garage and pointing a shotgun at deputies who were trying to get her and the boy to surrender, Chitwood said.
The boy, who was carrying an AK-47 at the time, then put his weapon down and surrendered.
Both youngsters allegedly fired at deputies four separate times over a 35-minute span, the chief said.
No deputies were wounded, but the officers involved were put on administrative leave, Chitwood said.
The deputies in the incident were “left with no other choice” but to return fire, the chief told reporters at a press conference.
“I don’t know what to say,” Chitwood said. “Where have we gone wrong that a 12- and 14-year-old think it’s OK to take on law enforcement?”
Chitwood said the incident was a first for him in 35 years of policing.
“And I’m sad to say, thank God my career is starting to come to an end,” Chitwood said. “Because I don’t know what the future of law enforcement looks like in this country.”
Prior to the standoff, the children ran away from a juvenile home in Enterprise, where they were reported missing at about 5 p.m. Tuesday.
Deputies learned the boy was a diabetic who didn’t have his medication, while the girl reportedly hit a Florida United Methodist Children’s Home staffer with a stick, Volusia County sheriff’s officials said in a statement early Wednesday.
Authorities contacted the homeowner after seeing two people inside the residence during a search for the missing teens. The owner said no one should have been in the residence, where a stockpile of ammo and weapons, including a shotgun and an AK-47, were stashed, sheriff officials said.
Chitwood said he had “no sympathy” for the teens, claiming they got “more brazen” as the situation unfolded. Deputies at one point tossed in a cellphone to talk to them, he said.
“The sanctity of human life is cheap on the streets,” Chitwood said.
Charges against the pair were pending as of early Wednesday, sheriff’s officials said.
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