May 19, 2022

A Florida girl, Nicole Jackson, 14, was recovering at a hospital from gunshot wounds in the abdomen after she and another 12-year old child, Travis O’Brien, broke into a home and found guns they used in a shootout with the deputies. The boy surrendered and was not injured, said Sheriff Mike Chitwood of Volusia County, Florida.

“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?” Chitwood said.

The two children ran away from Florida United Methodist Children’s Home, a foster home in Volusia County, on Tuesday before breaking into a house, where the pair discovered a handgun, shotgun, an AK-47 rifle, and several rounds of ammunition. 

The deputies were informed of a break-in at a home and arrived to find shattered windows. The deputies did not enter the house but contacted the homeowner who was at the grocery with his daughters, who confirmed that there were three guns and boxes of ammunition inside.

The officers surrounded the house and announced their presence.

“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. At 8:40, the 14-year-old emerges from the property and threatens to kill Sgt. Maxwell. At 8:54, the juvenile male, armed with an AK-47, opens fire on deputies,” Chitwood said.

“We try to de-escalate; we throw a cell phone into the house to try to talk to them. The 14-year-old comes out of the garage with a pump shotgun, levels it at deputies, and despite warnings to drop it, she walks back into the garage. She comes back a second time, and that’s when deputies opened fire,” Chitwood said.

The children are facing felony charges of attempted first-degree murder of law enforcement officers and armed burglary.

According to the sheriff’s office, eight deputies fired around 60 rounds during the shootout. All eight are placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard following a shooting.