A 13-year-old boy with a criminal history was identified Thursday as the suspect who shot a Florida police officer in the foot during a chase.
The teen was shot by other police officers in Lakeland as a response, authorities said.
Lakeland Police Officer Jamie Smith heard a shot fired while he was investigating a separate call in the area around 5:15 p.m., Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd told reporters.
When Smith found a suspect vehicle, he tried stopping it, but the driver fled.
Three people — the 13-year-old, a 14-year-old, and 19-year-old Jermaine Julian, an alleged gang member — were inside the vehicle, authorities said.
GEORGIA COPS SHOOT 2 PEOPLE WHO ALLEGEDLY ATTEMPTED TO TAKE A MAN’S DAUGHTER AWAY
“I don’t care that chronologically they are 14, 13, or 19. They were looking for someone to kill. I am sick to my stomach of them going, ‘Oh, did you know his age?’ It doesn’t make a difference,” Judd said. “If you’re old enough to hold a gun and point it at a cop and pull the trigger, you’re old enough to be shot or to go to jail.”
The chase ended and Smith began chasing after the 13-year-old, who allegedly had a gun. At one point, the teen shot Smith in the foot, police said.
When responding officers arrived, the teen allegedly engaged in a “gun battle” with police and was shot several times.
He was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his leg. The teen accused of shooting Smith was arrested in January for allegedly for carrying a stolen gun during a burglary.
He was charged with multiple felonies and given probation for that incident.
“We don’t want him on the streets,” the Polk sheriff said. “It’s just a matter of time until he hits someone, and just by the grace of God, he didn’t hit anyone with the drive-by this afternoon. But this is serious business. He entered into adult criminal activity, and we’re going to treat him like an adult, doing violent, felonious criminal activity.”
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Judd further criticized legal gun owners who leave their weapons in unlocked vehicles and other spaces where they can be easily accessed.
“They’re burglars. They’re shooting up neighborhoods and shooting officers with your gun because you’re not responsible,” he said. “They’ll also shoot you with your gun that they take out of your car if they get a chance.”