“This is like Bonnie & Clyde at 12 and 14 years of age.”
Police in Florida were forced to shoot a 14-year-old girl after she and her 12-year-old accomplice opened fire with a shotgun and AK-47.
After running away from a children’s home, the pair broke into a house and stole the guns they found inside, before turning them on the responding officers in a 90 minute armed standoff.
Officers spent the hour and a half trying to convince Nicole Jackson and Travis O’Brien to drop their weapons and surrender, but they refused. The girl even made several threats to kill officers, they said.
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A furious Sheriff Mike Chitwood told reporters that the girl was shot as a very last resort, when she emerged from the home brandishing the pump-action shotgun.
She was hit multiple times, in the chest, abdomen, and arm, and was left fighting for her life in hospital.
Entering the garage of the home, officers found the boy armed with the assault rifle, who — after a very tense 30 seconds — finally decided to drop his weapon.
According to Chitwood, the girl had previously been arrested for stealing puppies and was sent to a halfway house… but she burned that down. This is how she ended up in a religious criminal youth reform program in Volusia County… which the Sheriff clearly has little faith in.
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The boy, meanwhile, was a severe diabetic who needed insulin every four hours or would suffer a critical medical emergency.
Nevertheless, “every time deputies encounter these two little desperados, they run from us,” Sheriff Chitwood fumed.
While searching for them in the surrounding areas, a passer-by told officers he had heard glass breaking at a nearby home, and two youths had been spotted inside.
Chitwood admitted he himself would have just walked in and tried arresting the two kids; he was filled with praise for the first responding deputies who followed protocol instead, and contacted the homeowner first, who had just left 15 minutes earlier.
He confirmed there should be no one inside, and warned there was a shotgun, handgun and AK-47 inside, with 200 rounds of ammunition… which evidently, the children found.
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Police were forced to watch from outside as the children smashed up furniture, bathtubs and toilets with a baseball bat.
As officers surrounded the house to begin negotiations, the kids opened fire.
Police had no cover in the area, beside some trees and their cars, and as the Sheriff pointed out, an AK-47 round will go through an engine block as easy as it goes through bullet proof vests.
The children opened fire on at least four occasions, but officers refused to shoot back, he said. One even exposed himself to the gunfire long enough to throw a cellphone into the house to attempt to talk them down.
The children were also taking up different positions throughout the house to shoot from different angles, he said, marveling at how they even knew how to load and fire weapons at that age.
“This is like Bonnie & Clyde at 12 and 14 years of age,” he said.
But when she finally emerged from the home and aimed at deputies, they “did what they had to do.”
“They took rounds — multiple multiple rounds — before they were left with no other choice but to return fire,” he said.
“After they wound her, they automatically transition to try and save her life, apply tourniquets, get first aid in there.”
“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,” he added. “If it wasn’t for their training and their supervision… Somebody would have ended up dead.”
He was highly critical of the state’s juvenile justice system — “failure, fraud, fake, bulls–t” — which he said sends youths bent on committing crimes to mollycoddling centers that cannot handle them.
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“I don’t know what to say. Where have we gone wrong that a 12-year-old and 14-year-old think it’s okay to take on law enforcement? What the hell is the department of juvenile justice doing sending these kids to places that can’t handle them?”
He claimed deputies had been called to the home the pair ran away from — Florida United Methodist Children’s Home — on 289 separate occasions in 2020 alone.
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.
For the 14-year-old girl, Sheriff Chitwood said he had “no sympathy; none. And anybody out there who says I’m an a–hole, so be it.”
However he did add he hoped she survived, as “nobody wants to see a 14-year-old die, and I’m certainly not espousing that. I hope that she pulls through,” he said, adding they would worry about the potential charges “at another point in time.”
As for charges against the 12-year-old, he scoffed: “He’s 12. Whatever you charge him with it ain’t gonna stick for a long time.”
He shot down the predicted defense that if the kids had been hugged or kissed or patted on the head more they might not have turned out that way.
“[People] don’t wanna understand that there is evil in the world,” he snorted. “And I can’t explain why a 12 or 14 year old are evil. Where you can get so much hate in your soul, I don’t know.”
“This is something I’ve never seen in 35 years of policing, and I’m sad to say thank God my career is starting to come to an end because I don’t know what the future of law enforcement looks like in this country.”
After the incident, the girl was rushed to Central Florida Regional Hospital were she underwent surgery for life-threatening injuries. After her condition stabilized, she was then transported to another hospital for further treatment.
The boy was uninjured in the shootout, but was also treated at hospital for his diabetes.
Charges against both are currently pending, while all officers have been placed on leave, as is standard. Body cam footage of the incident is expected to be released in the coming days.
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