ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Deputies in St. Johns County arrested a 17-year-old Thursday, after he was found with $5,000 worth of crack cocaine in a stolen SUV.
It happened outside a hotel on State Road 16 near I-95 just before 6 AM. Police say a deputy ran the tags of the SUV at random, and found it to be stolen out of Hastings. Minutes later, Brandon Rich and 31-year-old Kimberly Davis approached the vehicle.
"The deputy gave orders for them to get on the ground. The 17-year-old entered the vehicle, reached into the center console, refused to follow commands of the deputy, and was shot once in the leg," said Sheriff David Shoar.
Although no weapon was found in the SUV, Shoar says the officer wasn't sure if one was present at the time.
Rich was treated and is now behind bars, charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, resisting an officer without violence, and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.
Licensed Mental Health Counselor Intern Patty Mohler says he's incredibly lucky.
"Police are taught to shoot for the heart."
Mohler says that's something Rich probably never thought about, because most kids never do.
It's the third time this month that Action News has covered kids breaking the law. The first instance involved two 12 and 14-year-olds who ran from adults after stealing a car. A week prior the same kids stole another car and crashed it.
Mohler thinks all three kids panicked.
"Things aren't immortal, things do happen, things do have consequences. Sometimes when you're young you just don't stop and think."
Mohler blames it on science. She says the brain doesn't fully develop until age 25, and before that, it doesn't always connect actions with consequences. What most adults see as common sense, Mohler says most kids can't process mentally.
"His brain does not function that way yet. He's not capable of doing that so he makes a very poor choice."
Mohler says it's not an excuse, but it is part of the puzzle to understanding how kids and crimes happen time and time again.
Davis was also arrested for violation of her probation.