Sherriff Slams “Broken” Juvenile Justice System For Failing Community After 14-Year-Old Arrested In Northeast Florida Shooting

Volusia Sheriff
About 20 minutes after the initial 911 call, deputies spotted the suspect vehicle on Highbanks Road in DeBary and stopped it, detaining the 14-year-old suspect along with two other male occupants the victim had described. Photo: Volusia Sheriff’s Office

VOLUSIA COUNTY, FL – A 14-year-old has been arrested in a shooting Thursday that injured a man who was trying to buy marijuana at a house in DeBary. According to authorities, the shooter is charged with attempted murder with a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile 2nd offense, and violation of juvenile probation which he received for his previous firearm possession charge in February.

The shooting was reported around noon Thursday, when a 20-year-old male victim told deputies he was shot outside 22 Estrella Road in DeBary after he attempted to purchase marijuana there from a known contact.

The victim had a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his right calf. He described a silver Chevrolet Silverado that the suspect who shot him was riding in. About 20 minutes after the initial 911 call, deputies spotted the Silverado on Highbanks Road in DeBary and stopped it, detaining the 14-year-old suspect along with two other male occupants the victim had described.

The suspect was not cooperative during the initial investigation and denied shooting the victim. A search warrant at 22 Estrella resulted in the recovery of a drum magazine and several rounds of ammunition, along with marijuana plants. A spent 9mm shell casing was found on the front porch where the victim said the suspect was standing when he was shot.


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The suspect was taken into custody and transported to the Department of Juvenile Justice, where he was being held in secure custody. His prior charges as a juvenile include battery, criminal mischief, unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile, child neglect, operating a vehicle without a license and violation of probation.

The suspects firearm charge in February stemmed from an Instagram video in which he and two other juveniles showed off multiple firearms in a message over tensions with other students at River Springs Middle School in Orange City. The charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile is a misdemeanor, and a DJJ assessment determined his risk to reoffend was moderate. DJJ recommended a judge place him on probation, with a curfew and an assigned 250-word essay on “The Importance of Abiding By The Law.”

“Our broken juvenile justice system that assigns lame essays and gives pats on the head is failing our community,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Friday. “It’s time juveniles who want to act like adult criminals face real consequences for their actions.”

The boys full name was included in the report, as well as posted on the Volusia Sheriff’s Office social media pages however, it was redacted from this report by The Published Reporter editors due to his age.

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