VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - One of the two kids accused of getting into a shootout with Volusia County deputies will be charged as an adult.
The State Attorney's Office made the announcement on Thursday.
The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said that a 12-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl allegedly opened fire at deputies after escaping from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home and trying to break into a house in Enterprise. Deputies were searching for them because the boy suffers from diabetes.
The girl accused in a gunfight will be transferred to the Volusia County Jail. She is expected to have a first appearance in court on Friday.
The 12-year old-boy will be charged as a juvenile.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said the boy told deputies that he and the girl were going to ‘roll like GTA,’ referring to the violent video game Grand Theft Auto. The sheriff said the boy and girl fired at deputies on at least four occasions.
Sheriff Chitwood explained the kids used guns and ammunition they found inside the home.
"They're living in an alternate universe, these young folks" he told FOX 35. "If we don't catch them and don't do the right thing, we're putting round pegs into square holes."
On Thursday, the State Attorney's Office announced that the 12-year-old boy will be charged as a juvenile while the 14-year-old girl will be charged as an adult. They both face charges of attempted first-degree murder of law enforcement officers, burglary of a dwelling with firearm, and criminal mischief. Typically, adults would receive a mandatory life sentence if convicted of Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer.
However, it was noted that just because the girl is being charged as an adult, it does not mean she will get the same sentence as an adult. If convicted, the judge will have some discretion to give her a lesser sentence because of her young age.
In regards to the difference between the 12-year-old and 14-year-old, State Attorney RJ Larizza told FOX 35 that, "two years can make a lot of difference in a kids’s attitude and what a kid has experienced… When you look at the overall facts, circumstances, ages, and other considerations, we believe that was the fight thing to do."
Larizza also commended the Volusia County Sheriff's Office for the restraint they used and the de-escalation tactics. He spoke with Sheriff Chitwood, who did not express any objections at this point.
Sheriff Chitwood also released a statement: "The first priority for me is that our deputies are alive. What happens next in the courtroom will be up to a judge and jury. I have full confidence in R.J. Larizza and his team, and I support the difficult charging decisions they had to make in this case. These young defendants are alive today because of the training, compassion and incredible restraint displayed by our deputies, and I have faith that our State Attorney's Office will make sure that their efforts were not in vain."
For now, both children will stay behind bars: the 12-year-old boy at a juvenile detention center and the 14-year-old girl will go to an adult jail once she is stable enough to be released from the hospital. A hearing will be held on June 23 at 8:30 a.m.
Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates on this story and more.