Volusia deputy recounts tense shootout with teens: 'Seemed like forever'

A harrowing video from early June shows Volusia County Sgt. Don Maxwell taking cover behind a tree, targeted by a 14-year-old girl and 12-year-old boy. Deputies say the pair broke into a house and armed themselves with weapons they found inside. 

"It's hard to even comprehend that juveniles would be doing this," Maxwell said at a news conference with Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.

The Sheriff's Office says the two kids had run away from the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home earlier that day and had broken into the house, about a mile-and-a-half away. Aiming his gun back at the teens, Maxwell hoped he wouldn't have to pull the trigger. 

"Don't make me do this," he says on the bodycam video, "Don't do this."

"I thought I was saying it in my brain," Maxwell said at the news conference. "I can't believe it came out of my mouth but it was almost a prayer, in a sense, to say 'hey, let's take this down a notch, let's get everybody home peacefully.'"

Later, deputies did have to shoot the 14-year-old, after they say she aimed a shotgun at them. Deputies say after shooting the 14-year-old, they moved quickly to get her the help she needed. 

"We're not here to take lives," Maxwell said, "we're here to save lives, and make sure that we go some safe, as well."

Maxwell said he was shocked at the youngsters’ competence with the firearms they found, and their tactical knowledge. Sitting nearby, Chitwood said the system failed these teens. 

"It's the whole system itself," he said, "it's DCF, it's the juvenile justice system, it's the fact that you cannot get proper services for these kids - these kids are troubled kids."

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