Police in Florida were forced to return fire after two children – aged just 12 and 14 – broke into a home and used the AK-47 assault rifle and other weapons they found inside to conduct a half-hour gun battle.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said that 12-year-old Travis O’Brien and 14-year-old Nicole Jackson face felony charges of attempted first-degree murder of law enforcement officers, as well as armed burglary.
Deputies said they were already in the area searching for the pair because they had absconded from a Florida United Methodist Children’s Home and O’Brien, who is a diabetic, did not take any medication with him.
"So the deputies in the Deltona area go out looking for this 12-year-old and this 14-year-old because the 12-year-old is insulin-dependent and the 12-year-old, if he doesn’t get his medication within four hours, it’s going to be a critical medical emergency," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters.
A local told the searching cops that they had heard what sounded like a window breaking and when officers went to investigate they saw clear signs of forced entry at the those on Enterprise Osteen Road, Deltona.
Rather than immediately rush in, the deputies checked with the homeowner and learned that there was an AK-47, a pump-action shotgun, a pistol, and 200 rounds of ammunition inside the property.
Police surrounded the property, and could clearly hear the youngsters inside wrecking the house using baseball bats and other implements.
A clearly furious Sheriff Chitwood gave reporters a timetable of the shootout, saying: "At 8:28, one of my sergeants who was the first to arrive, Sgt. Donnie Maxwell takes fire multiple times, never returns fire.
"At 8:31, one of our units reports they’re being fired at by the 12- and the 14-year-old. At 8:33, another call comes out from another group of deputies surrounding the home saying that shots were fired."
He went on: "At 8:40, the 14-year-old emerges from the property and threatens to kill Sergeant Maxwell. At 8:54, the juvenile male, armed with an AK-47, opens fire on deputies."
Up to that point the officers had just tried to contain the situation, throwing a mobile phone into the house in hope of communicating with the two runaways.
But then, Sheriff Chitwood said, the siege turned into a shootout with what he called the "evil" children.
"The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputies, and despite warnings to drop it, she walked back into the garage, she comes back a second time, and that’s when deputies opened fire after taking multiple rounds."
Reports say the girl was shot in the chest and in the arm, he said. After receiving emergency treatment she was later listed in stable condition.
"My deputies showed more restraint than I’m showing right now because I am furious that we could be burying somebody tonight," Sheriff Chitwood said.
"They took multiple multiple rounds, and I know for a fact one [high capacity] banana clip was empty from the AK-47. I know from the radio transmissions that a 12-year-old opened fire on us.
"I know that the 14-year-old opened fire on us with a shotgun and then walked out and threatened one of my sergeants and told him she was going to kill him. And we didn’t return fire.
"But after she came out of the garage, hey, there was nothing left that we could do. We had to do what we had to do."
Sheriff Chitwood furiously added that the children’s home the pair had escaped from have the facilities to cope with offenders like them. He pointed out that a security guard at the home was beaten to death by children earlier this year.
Calling the home "a complete failure," he said that police have been called there nearly 300 times in the past year.
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