Enterprise, FL - A 14-year-old girl is recovering in the hospital and a 12-year-old boy is in custody after the pair shot at Volusia Sheriff's Office (VSO) deputies from inside a home they'd broken into.
Deputies were looking for the runaways after they left the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home around 5 p.m. yesterday (June 1).
Deputies were searching the area when, around 7:30 p.m., a passerby witness reported hearing glass break at 1050 Enterprise Osteen Road. As they approached the house, deputies saw two figures in the house. They contacted the homeowner, who told them no one should be home, and that there was a handgun, a shotgun, and an AK-47 inside, along with a large amount of ammunition.
As deputies surrounded the home and tried to de-escalate the situation, the children started shooting. It was determined that the 14-year-old girl fired her first shot at a sheriff’s sergeant out a back patio door around 8:30 p.m. The preliminary investigation the children fired at deputies on four separate occasions over the next 35 minutes. The girl stepped out of the garage, pointing a shotgun at deputies before she was shot and wounded. The boy, who was in the garage armed with the AK-47, surrendered without firing another shot.
The 14-year-old girl was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. She's reported to be in stable condition after surgery. The 12-year-old boy, who is diabetic but didn't have his medication, was also taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood siad that the sustained, armed assault on law enforcement from two children was “something I’ve never seen in 35 years in policing.”
“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,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision… Somebody would have ended up dead.”
“I don’t know where we get the men and women who respond to these incidents, who do what they do, and do it with bravery, do it with courage, and do it while trying to protect the sanctity of human life,” he said. “But they took rounds – multiple, multiple rounds – until they were left with no other choice but to return fire.”
The Sheriff’s Office handled close to 300 calls at the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in 2020. Last month, a 14-year-old boy at the group home pleaded no contest to a charge of manslaughter in the death of a security officer he struck during an altercation in late March.
Charges against the juveniles are pending. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement responded to the scene to conduct an investigation into the incident, as is standard in deputy-involved shooting cases. The deputies involved will be temporarily placed on paid administrative leave, also standard.