The boy, 13, pleaded not guilty to firing on deputies

A 13-year-old Florida boy who walked out of a children’s home with a teenage girl and shot at deputies during a gunfight last year has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

Deland, Fla. – A 13-year-old Florida boy who fled a child’s home with a teenage daughter and shot deputies during a gunfight last year has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

The boy filed the appeal in juvenile court on Wednesday and was sentenced to the highest-risk promise program, where he will likely spend nearly three years. He will then be released on parole, the equivalent of a probationary juvenile. The Associated Press is not naming him because he is a teenager.

Volusia County Sheriff’s Deputy Don Maxwell, who was hiding behind a tree at the time of the shooting, told the boy during the hearing that he had forgiven him.

“I challenge you to do better,” Maxwell was quoted as saying by The Daytona Beach News-Journal. “I want to see you one day be that person … I know you can be. Your heart is big. You have. Long life in front of you. And I will say a prayer for you every day.”

The girl, then 14, and the boy, then 12, fled the Florida United Methodist Children’s Home near Deltona on June 1, when he became angry that he had not been allowed to go outside and catch a lizard.

They enter a house where they find an assault rifle, a shotgun and other weapons. They started firing at the deputies who were looking for them.

Deputies eventually shot and wounded the girl as she walked out of the house and pointed a gun at them, authorities said. The girl, an adult, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder by a law enforcement officer and armed robbery of a residence.

Records released from the sheriff’s office show the girl was forced to undergo a mental health assessment in 2018 for kicking and biting her mother, for throwing stones at a supervisor at a youth shelter in crisis, and for holding a knife while arguing with her. The brother in the family home and a living room with a bat smashed the mirror.

Also in 2018, he was charged with major theft after stealing a dog worth $ 1,500, records show. He was sent to juvenile court but failed to comply with the requirements.

In 2019, she was forced to undergo a mental health assessment again when she received a suicide threat and another time when she said she tried to overdose on prescription drugs because she wanted to die, according to records.

In April, the teenager started five fires in a wooden place, records show. She was sent to live with her mother, then she was placed in foster care, but she kept fleeing so she was sent to a teenage home.

The boy had earlier threatened to kill another student and throw bricks at a school administrator, according to the sheriff’s records.

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