TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa father shot both of his children in their home Monday night, killing one of them and leaving the other in critical condition, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.
Deputies said the shooting happened just after 10:30 p.m. Monday at a home located on Heritage Club Drive near Gazebo Pond Lane.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Chronister said a mother kissed her 5-year-old daughter and her 8-year-old son goodnight in their bunk beds. When she left the room to go to the restroom, she heard gunshots.
The mother ran outside where she came across a neighbor who had already called 911. She took over the 911 call as the children's father, identified as 30-year-old Jermaine Bass, ran outside carrying his son and calling for help, the sheriff explained.
Chronister said deputies arrived to find the father cradling his son on the couch and saying, "It was an accident. I accidentally shot my son."
When deputies asked if anyone else was in the house, they were told the couple's 5-year-old daughter was upstairs sleeping. They went upstairs to find the girl had been shot in the head two to three times, according to Chronister.
Both children were rushed to Tampa General Hospital.
"Our 5-year-old victim has been pronounced deceased. Our 8-year-old is fighting for his life," the sheriff said.
"This is a case and an experience that no parent should have to live through and that no law enforcement officer or first responder should ever have to witness," he continued. "We as a sheriff's office are struggling today.”
Bass was arrested and charged with first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree attempted premeditated murder and aggravated child abuse.
“I hope that this individual feels the full weight of the criminal justice system and never sees the light of day where he can ever be in a position to harm another human being," Chronister said.
"I don't know why he did this, and I don't know if we'll ever know," he continued. "You don't accidentally shoot your children three to four times in the head."
The investigation is ongoing. Bass was scheduled to appear in court for the first time at 11 a.m. Wednesday, but the appearance was waived.
If you need help or know someone who does, you can call the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay by dialing 211. you can also contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) by calling 1-800-662-4357 or by clicking here.
You can watch the full news conference below.