Before firing at deputies, the girl made a video game reference and said: "I'm gonna roll this down like GTA."
Trigger warning: The story contains details of gun violence that might be distressing to some readers.
Police officers in Florida were caught in a half-hour-long shootout and faced bullets from two unexpected shooters—a 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy—who had a handgun, a shotgun, and an AK-47 at their disposal. The two children were reportedly staying at a group home, and they ran away together on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. Then, the pair broke into a house that had an AK-47, a handgun, and a shotgun, as well as a large stock of ammunition that the homeowner had left inside, according to CNN.
When the girl saw that deputies gathered outside the house, she made a reference to the video game, Grand Theft Auto, and said: "I'm gonna roll this down like GTA."
The assault on law enforcement officers by 2 armed children was “something I’ve never seen in 35 years in policing," the sheriff said https://t.co/tEWzabZQo0— KTLA (@KTLA) June 2, 2021
Grabbing the AK-47, the 12-year-old boy took two loaded magazines from the bedroom and went on to open fire at the police officers. During the shootout that lasted for around 30 minutes, the girl threatened to kill a sergeant and unleashed a volley of bullets at the officers from different angles, along with the 12-year-old boy. Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood revealed that they tried to negotiate with the children by getting help from people who knew them. One of the officers even tried to talk to the children by throwing his own cell phone towards them. But "nothing, nothing worked," Chitwood said at a news conference, as reported by ABC News.
"They were coming out to kill cops," the officer added. In the body camera footage that was released from the incident, one officer could be heard saying: "They're shooting at me... She's got the AK and the shotgun... shots fired again, female now has a pistol."
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES AND LANGUAGE— Volusia Sheriff (@VolusiaSheriff) June 2, 2021
Body camera video and Air One footage from last night's deputy-involved shooting in Enterprise is provided here. https://t.co/wVsXAls0LN
Eventually, the teenage girl came outside from the garage and aimed at the deputies twice before an officer fired at her. The girl suffered serious injuries and is in "critical but stable" condition. On the other hand, the boy surrendered and came out of the incident unharmed. The deputies present at the scene were also not hurt during the shootout. "Deputies did everything they could tonight to de-escalate and they almost lost their lives," Chitwood said while giving the statement. "They took rounds -- multiple, multiple rounds -- before they were left with no other choice but to return fire."
"Deputies had nowhere to hide but trees" added Chitwood.
This is the tree that provided cover for our deputy who came under fire from two children yesterday. The best tree in Volusia County as far as I'm concerned pic.twitter.com/s2nfphNvVV— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) June 2, 2021
The two children were staying at the Florida United Methodist Children's Home (FUMCH) before they ran away and executed the shooting, as reported by CNN. "This situation is tragic and is the result of the system failing our children," said Kitwana McTyer, the President and CEO of FUMCH, 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."
Calling the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice a "failure," Chitwood said during the press conference: "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?"
Cover image source: Volusia Sheriff's Office