A man wearing a skull mask kicked down the door of a home shortly after midnight Halloween night, entered a bedroom and shot a woman who was sleeping with two young children, in what Florida law enforcement officials are calling a “targeted” attack.
Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said the incident happened around 12:40 a.m. Tuesday in New Port Richey, according to a news report by WTSP-TV.
The man first knocked on the front door, awakening a woman who was sleeping on a couch in the front room, Necco told reporters at a news conference.
“As she’s getting up, because she hears the door, the door is then kicked in by a suspect,” Necco said.
“The suspect walks in; he points the gun directly at her, then he keeps moving towards the bedroom.”
The gunman flipped on the light switch, which woke up another woman who was in bed with two young children, Necco told reporters.
“As she sits up, she says, ‘Don’t shoot me,'” Necco said.
The intruder fired one round at the woman, who fell off the bed. He then fired another round at her, which struck her.
“He then walks out of the … house and leaves,” Necco said, adding it appears he fled in a vehicle.
Responders treated the woman at the scene and transported her to a hospital, but she died of her injuries, Necco said.
He added that it does not appear to have been a random attack.
“It appears that the suspect knew the layout of this house. He directly targeted the individual. It seems like he knew exactly who he was going for,” Necco told reporters.
“We are questioning anybody who may have had a relationship with her,” Necco told reporters.
Necco said mental health counseling is being offered to the two children, who are both under the age of 12, as well as to the other woman in the home.
“For these young kids, I can imagine they were out last night trick-or-treating,” Nocco said.
“I can imagine they went to bed a little bit later, like all the kids did last night. But to be woken up by this … to have a suspect walk in, turn that light on and shoot the person in the bed with them — it’s horrific. That’s the only word I can think of.”
“We pray for the family, we pray for those children.”
He asked the community for help locating the suspect by submitting tips online at PascoSheriff.com/tips, or by calling 1-800-706-2488.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.