PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities say a woman died after a man wearing a mask broke into a Pasco County home in the hour after Halloween and shot her in front of two children.

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office responded to a shooting at a home on Menifee Court in New Port Richey at about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday.

According to Sheriff Chris Nocco, a witness told deputies she was sleeping on the couch when she was awoken by a knock at the door. She said a man wearing a skull mask kicked in the door, entered the home and pointed a gun at her. The man then went into a bedroom, where another woman was sleeping with two young children, and turned on the light.

Nocco said the woman woke up and begged the man not to shoot her, but he fired one round that hit her. When she fell on the floor, he shot her again. Then he ran outside, got into a car and fled the area, according to the sheriff.

“It appears the suspect knew the layout of this house. He directly targeted the individual. It seems like he knew exactly who he was going for, and he fled the scene,” Nocco said.

Deputies and paramedics responded and rushed the victim to an area hospital, where she later died.

“It’s absolutely sad, especially just happened right in front of my apartment complex. It’s really scary,” said neighbor Zyta Fonseca.

Authorities said the man remains at large, and they’re asking those in the area to remain vigilant.

The man is described as a male about 5 feet, 10 inches tall with a large build. The witness said he was wearing dark clothing.

Deputies and the forensic team were seen canvassing the area and going door-to-door looking for any information.

“They asked if we had any cameras available for them to take a look at to see if they can find the suspect,” said Fonseca. “I just hope they find them nothing like that should happen especially so close to home.”

The sheriff’s office is asking anyone with information about the man or the shooting to submit tips, either online at, or by calling 1-800-706-2488.