“Anytime you talk about the Christmas season, she’s going to remember this horrific time,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said.
Trigger Warning: The following article contains descriptions of death by suicide and gun violence which some readers may find distressing.
Pasco County deputies are investigating a murder-suicide of two adults in Land O' Lakes. A Florida man fatally shot his wife and wounded their 5-year-old daughter. He then turned the gun on himself and took his own life, police said. Officials were contacted after a witness, who was providing child care for the family called 911 around 8:35 p.m. on Dec. 13. The child's mother was walking the babysitter out to her car with her five-year-old daughter when a man ran towards the two and started shooting. Deputies arrived to find the adult woman shot in the front lawn.
According to Pasco Sheriff's Office, "Deputies took the woman to safety, but she had died as a result of gunshot wounds. The girl had gone into the house following the shooting, along with the man, who is the child’s father. The child went to her room and the father went to another room in the house, where he shot himself. When deputies arrived at the house, the child came out of the house after hearing the deputies outside. Deputies later found the man deceased inside the house, as a result of that shooting."
The young child was taken to a local hospital where she is recovering from her injuries. “She’s a tough little girl,” Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco told reporters adding that the father was arrested for domestic violence four months ago, reports The New York Post. The mother had sought an injunction for protection. The identities of the family members involved have not yet been released due to Marsy's Law, according to ABC Action News. “Tonight, we’re dealing with a tragedy where a 5-year-old little girl no longer has a mother or father,” Nocco said. “This child is going to have to carry this for the rest of her life. Anytime you talk about the Christmas season, she’s gonna remember this horrific time.”
According to Mindy Murphy, The Spring of Tampa Bay CEO when a domestic violence injunction is filed, some abusers back off but can be triggering to others. “It’s the most heartbreaking and gut-wrenching tragedy that you can experience in a community," said Murphy. “Changing up the way you drive to and from work. Changing the time of day you pick your kids up. There are so many things. But they are unique to each individual survivor. We are trying to tease out a thinking process about if I do this then this might be the end result. So how can I change that result so that I’m safer.” As a society we need to do a better job of holding abusers accountable and supporting survivors, Murphy added.
If you are being subjected to domestic abuse or know of anyone else who is, please visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website or call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22522.
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | aijohn784