(Reuters) – Two children in Florida escaped from a group home, broke into a home and participated in a shootout with law enforcement officers who responded to the scene, authorities said Wednesday.
A 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl found guns inside a home that broke into Enterprise, Florida, and fired at sheriff’s deputies, the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The girl was shot and injured after she pointed a shotgun at the officers.
“The 12-year-old boy, armed with an AK-47, finally put down his gun shortly after and was not injured,” the sheriff’s statement said.
Body camera footage released Wednesday showed officers hiding behind trees as shots rang out around them. The images from when the girl was shot were blurry. The audio of the video painted a frantic scene as officers rushed to provide medical assistance to the girl who was screaming in pain.
He underwent surgery and was in stable condition, authorities said. No deputy sheriffs were injured in the Tuesday night shooting.
Unspecified charges against the children are pending, according to the sheriff’s department.
The children had escaped from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s department said.
A few hours later, they broke into a house. Bystanders reported hearing broken glass in the home and alerted officers.
Officers surrounded the house. At that point shots erupted from the home, the sheriff’s statement said. The house contained a pistol, shotgun, and the AK-47, along with a large amount of ammunition.
Over the course of 35 minutes there were four exchanges of shots.
“Officers did everything they could tonight to slow the escalation, and they nearly lost their lives with a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy,” said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
The sheriff said the girl had a record and was arrested last year for setting fire to several vacant lots.
During a press conference Wednesday, Chitwood criticized Florida’s juvenile justice system for being broken. He noted that violent teen offenders are often placed in group homes that are not trained to handle them. He said the girl involved in the shooting should not have been placed in the house she escaped from.
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