13-year-old ‘hardened criminal’ shot cop during police chase

On Wednesday, police in Lakeland, Florida responded to reports of a drive-by shooting at a park and encountered a 13-year-old male suspect who they said was a “hardened criminal” with “no regard for life.” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the teen was already on probation and had been arrested for car burglary in January, when he had a stolen gun in his possession.

During the chase through a residential neighborhood, the 13-year-old fired three shots at Officer Jamie Smith with a stolen gun, wounding him in the left foot. Smith returned fire and the teen fled, but was soon spotted hiding in nearby bushes. Officers exchanged gunfire with the suspect, and he was shot in the lower extremities before being taken to Tampa General Hospital. The officer is expected to be released from the hospital soon.

Judd said, “Even though his chronological age is 13, he’s a hardened criminal who will shoot you — because if you’ll shoot the cops, you’ll shoot anybody.” Besides the 13-year-old suspect, two other male suspects were identified, ages 19 and 14, and all three have gang affiliations. Judd added that they were “looking for somebody to kill” Wednesday afternoon and were “dangerous felons.” Police are requesting that the 13-year-old be charged as an adult.