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Sheriff Judd: Lakeland officer returns fire at 13-year-old who shot him in foot

The 13-year-old boy is being monitored by police as he is treated for gunshot wounds to the left thigh and stomach.

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Lakeland police officer and a 13-year-old were injured after exchanging gunfire in a chase Wednesday evening, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

At around 5:16 p.m., Officer Smith heard gunshots from a reported drive-by shooting about three blocks west of Simpson Park, Lakeland Police Chief Sammy Taylor said.

Smith arrived to find a 13-year-old boy and a 14-year-old boy getting into a car driven by 19-year-old Jermaine Julian, Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference on Thursday.

After a brief chase, Judd said all three teens got out of the car and ran, letting the vehicle roll into traffic and sideswipe another car. 

That's when Officer Smith ran after the 13-year-old who was refusing orders to put down his gun, according to the sheriff.

Judd said they then entered the Carrington Place apartment complex on Kettles Avenue, where the teen can be seen on body camera video turning around and firing a shot at the officer, which hit the officer in the left foot. 

As the chase continued, authorities said the officer returned fire, shooting the 13-year-old in the left thigh and stomach. 

The 13-year-old was transported to Tampa General Hospital where he remains under Lakeland police supervision Thursday afternoon. 

Chief Taylor said Officer Smith was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical where "his condition is good" and he is expected to be released sometime Thursday. 

According to Judd, the 19-year-old driving the car and the 14-year-old, who was also armed, have both been arrested. The sheriff said the teens obtained the guns by breaking into cars and stealing them.

"These are bad guys. They’re bad guys. I don’t care that chronologically they’re 14 and 13 and 19," Judd said. "They tried to shoot someone last night."

Details regarding the teens' charges have not been released. The shooting remains under investigation. 

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