Port New Richey, FL – A manhunt is underway for the masked gunman who executed a woman in front of two young children early Tuesday morning.
The horrific attack occurred at a residence in the Menifee Court area at approximately 12:40 a.m. on Nov. 1, the Pasco Sheriff’s Office (PSO) said in a press release.
The woman was getting to her feet when the suspect kicked the door down and pointed a gun at her, Sheriff Nocco said.
The intruder immediately made his way to a bedroom where a second woman was asleep beside two young children, according to the PSO.
He flipped on the light, causing the woman to wake up and sit upright on the bed, Sheriff Nocco said.
“The light comes on, she sees the suspect walk into the door,” the sheriff said, according to WFXT. “She sits up. As she sits up, she says, ‘Don’t shoot me.’ The suspect then fires one round at her. She falls off the bed. He fires another round directly at her, striking her.”
The two children, both of whom are less than 12 years old, were not injured in the shooting.
“For those young kids, I can imagine they were out last night trick-or treating and I can imagine they went to bed a little later, like all the kids did last night,” Sheriff Nocco told reporters. “But to be woken up, to have a suspect walk in, turn that light on, and shoot the person who was in bed with them, that’s horrific. That’s the only word I can think of.”
The gunman ran out the house after the shooting and investigators said they believe he left the area in a vehicle, the PSO showed.
The female victim was rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Her identity was not immediately released.
The PSO said the gunman appeared to have specifically targeted the victim and that he knew the layout of the house.
“At this point in the investigation, the information in this case does not suggest that this was a random act,” the sheriff’s office said. “It appears that the suspect knew the layout of the home and who his intended victim was.”
The suspect was described as being a heavyset male who stands approximately five feet, 10 inches tall.
He was last seen wearing dark-colored clothing and a “black skull-type mask,” the PSO said.
The investigation into the fatal shooting remained ongoing.
The PSO urged anyone with information about the incident to contact investigators immediately.
“Any information you can provide – we need it,” Sheriff Nocco said during the press conference.
He said the PSO is helping connect the children and the other adult female who was in the house at the time of the attack with mental health services.
“We pray for the family. We pray for the children,” the sheriff said.