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The Florida juvenile group home where a baby-faced “Bonnie and Clyde” escaped before getting into a shootout with deputies will stop accepting at-risk kids for at least 30 days, according to reports.
Officials at Florida United Methodist Children’s Home in Enterprise, where 12-year-old Travis O’Brien and 14-year-old Nicole Jackson fled Tuesday prior to allegedly breaking into a home and opening fire on Volusia County deputies for 35 minutes, said the “shocking” incident is prompting a reassessment of its services, WESH reported.
“This situation is tragic, and is the result of the system failing our children,” FUMCH president and CEO Kitwana McTyler said in a statement. “These children are in desperate need of care in the appropriate setting, which is a higher level of care than we provide.”
The home will put a 30-day moratorium on its emergency shelter care program and “cease to provide that service” until administrators feel they can do so in a safe manner, McTyler said.
The home currently has three children in its emergency shelter program and will seek to find alternative placement for them, WESH reported.
Travis and Nicole, meanwhile, had been a part of that program, according to WESH.
McTyler said the 113-year-old facility is a child welfare home rather than a secure care facility, WINK-TV reported.
“We simply cannot be ‘everything to everyone,’” McTyler’s statement continued. “From a personal perspective, this incident is shocking to me. In my 25 years working in child welfare service, I have never seen anything like this.”
Deputies have made 89 visits to the juvenile home this year, WINK-TV reported.
A security guard at the facility died in March, days after he was repeatedly punched in the head by a teenage boy there. The teen later pleaded no contest to manslaughter, WESH reported.
Police bodycam footage released Thursday shows deputies outside the Enterprise home that Travis and Nicole allegedly broke into after escaping from the juvenile home earlier Tuesday.
The pair have reportedly been charged with armed burglary and attempted murder of law enforcement officers.
Travis, who had his initial court appearance Thursday, was ordered to be held in secure detention for 21 days and his arraignment was set for June 23.
Nicole, who was shot twice during the 35-minute exchange of gunfire, remained hospitalized Thursday, WKMG reported.
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