A 13-year-old boy was arrested after he exchanged gunfire with police during a chase through a residential neighborhood in Lakeland.
One officer was shot in the foot, and the teen was also taken to the hospital with a gunshot wounds to the leg and abdomen, where he is recovering while in police custody, WKMG reported.
Polk County Sherif Grady Judd said that the incident began when Officer Jamie Smith heard gunshots near a Lakeland park and drove up as the shooter got back into a vehicle and drove off. Smith pursued until the 19-year-old driver and two passengers, 13 and 14, jumped out and ran.
Smith spotted the 13-year-old running down a sidewalk with a firearm and shouted for him to stop, but he went into an apartment complex. Smith turned a corner, and the teen ambushed him, firing three shots from a handgun, striking the officer in the foot. He returned fire, but the boy fled.
Despite being wounded, Smith called for backup and went after the teen, Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said. He found the boy hiding in bushes next to the apartment building, and the two engaged in another round of gunfire with each other, but this time the boy was struck.
The other two suspects were also captured and are facing felony charges, Judd said. Both the 13-year-old and the 14-year-old were on probation from a car burglary incident in January and had a stolen gun at that time, the sheriff said.
Judd said that authorities are asking the state attorney to charge the 13-year-old as an adult.
“He has no regard for life. None. Zero,” said Judd. “He may be 13 years old chronologically, but he’s a hardened criminal willing to shoot it out with cops.”
Jermaine Julian, 19, was charged with attempted first-degree murder, fleeing to elude, leaving the scene of an accident, no valid driver’s license, contributing to a minor, tampering with evidence, and resisting arrest with violence, the Ledger reported.
The 13-year-old, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, resisting arrest with violence, resisting arrest, discharge of a firearm in public, improper exhibition of a firearm, and violation of probation. The 14-year-old faces charges of attempted first-degree murder, resisting arrest with violence, tampering with evidence. and possession of a firearm by a minor.
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