TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A judge has set a $2.5 million bond for the father who was accused of shooting his two young children in Hillsborough County, killing one and critically injuring the other.
The father, Jermaine Lavanda Bass was arrested Monday and charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said his deputies responded to the home at the Armature Gate Townhomes on Heritage Club Drive, at about 10:30 p.m. on Monday and found Bass’ 8-year-old son injured.
Deputy Scott Ranney, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene Jermaine Bass was downstairs in his home, holding his son.
“I observed Mr. Bass sitting on the couch with a juvenile male in his arms. It appeared that he had a possible wound to the left side of his head,” Ranney said.
“And then [the boy] opened his eyes and said, ‘oh my head hurts, my head hurts’ and then he would go back out of consciousness,” Raney said.
Bass told them he shot his son by accident, then directed deputies to the children’s room, where they found his 5-year-old daughter on the top of a bunk bed with gunshot wounds.
According to Chronister, both children had been shot in the head.
“You don’t accidentally shoot your children three to four times in the head,” the sheriff said.
The two children were rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where the girl was pronounced deceased and the boy remains in critical condition.
The children’s mother told deputies she had tucked her children into bed and gave them a kiss goodnight before she left them with their father to go to the restroom.
While in the restroom, she heard three gunshots, so she ran outside to get help. Moments later, Bass came out of their house, holding their 8-year-old son.
Deputies said they found four .380 caliber shell casings on the top bunk, where the girl was sleeping, and noticed bullets had gone through the wall of the children’s bedroom into the bathroom.
They found a Glock 42 .380 caliber firearm in the master bedroom, next to Bass’ wallet.
Authorities said they had reason to believe his reasons were premeditated and charged him with first-degree premeditated murder with a firearm, first-degree premeditated attempted murder with a firearm and aggravated child abuse.
On Friday, a judge ordered he be held on a $2.5 million bond for the charges.
She said the state did not prove Bass was a danger to the community, but set the bond at that amount due to the severity of his alleged crimes.
Detectives said they don’t know why Bass shot his children.
The children’s mother claimed nothing unusual happened the day of the shooting. However, when she was asked to turn over her phone so detectives could look over the text exchanges with her husband, she refused.