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Fla. Father Allegedly Kills Daughter, 5, Critically Wounds Son, 8, Moments After Mom Tucked Them into Bed

People logo People 9/2/2022 Tristan Balagtas

Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Jermaine Bass © Provided by People Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Jermaine Bass

A Florida dad accused of shooting his two children in the head as they lay in bed has been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of his 5-year-old daughter.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, appearing visibly shaken up, called the Monday night shootings "not only tragic, but extremely disturbing," during a press conference the next morning.

At about 10:30 p.m., the mother of the 5-year-old girl and her 8-year-old brother arrived back at her Tampa, Fla., home that she shared with her husband, just in time to kiss her kids goodnight, Chronister told reporters.

"Her 5-year-old daughter giggles because she's trying to pretend that she's already asleep," Chronister said.

After kissing both her kids — who authorities have not publicly identified — the mother allegedly left them in their room with their father, 30-year-old Jermaine Bass, while she went to the bathroom.

Moments later, she told investigators the sound of gunfire rang out and she fled outside, fearing for her safety.

"The children's father walks outside carrying the 8-year-old son, saying, 'Call for help,'" said Chronister.

The children's mother and a neighbor called 911.

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When authorities arrived, "they see the father in the family room, cradling the 8-year-old son, saying it was an accident," the sheriff said.

"Deputies go upstairs only to make the gruesome discovery that there's a 5-year-old laying in a top bunk, laying in a pool of her own blood," he added. Like her brother, "she is shot two to three times in her head."

At the hospital, the little girl was pronounced dead, while Chronister said the boy remains in critical condition, "fighting for his life."

"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," he said.

In addition to the murder charge, Bass has been charged with first-degree attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.

Jail records show Bass was denied bail.

Attorney information for him was not immediately available and it was unclear if he has entered a plea to the charges.

According to Bay News 9, Bass' court appearances Wednesday and Friday were waived.

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