TAMPA, Fla. — (UPDATE) The man facing charges in the shootings of his own children that left one dead and another critical waived his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Jermaine Lavanda Bass, 30, is facing charges of first degree premeditated murder and first degree attempted premeditated murder after his 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter were shot Monday night in their Tampa home.

A 5-year-old girl was pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital. An 8-year-old boy remains in critical condition.

The State asked for a pretrial detention hearing, which has been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 2. His appearance has been waived for that hearing as well.

What You Need To Know

  • Jermaine Lavanda Bass, 30, facing multiple charges in the shootings of 8-year-old son, 5-year-old daughter

  • 5-year-old girl pronounced dead; 8-year-old boy remains critical

  • Deputies responded to shooting Monday just after 10:30 p.m. at Armature Gate Townhomes in Tampa

According to deputies, the shooting happened just after 10:30 p.m. at a home at the Armature Gate Townhomes in the 13000 block of Heritage Club Drive.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said the children's mother was in the bathroom and Bass was putting them to bed. She heard gunshots and, assuming they were outside, went out of the home to check. Moments later, Bass was found holding the 8-year-old and calling for help and saying "it was an accident," Chronister said. 

A short time later as deputies arrived, they found the 5-year-old in the top bed of bunk beds with gunshot wounds to the head. Both were rushed to Tampa General Hospital.  

Each child had two to three gunshot wounds to the head, Chronister said, adding that Bass later admitted to shooting the children.

"I hope that this individual feels the full weight of the criminal justice system," an emotional Chronister said at Tuesday's news conference. "And never sees the light of day where he can ever be in a position to harm another human being."


Neighbors were sending prayers to the family Tuesday afternoon.

"I can’t imagine how something like that could happen,” said Natalia Canty. “I can’t imagine what that mother’s going through right now, it’s just awful."

Another neighbor, Arthur Matos, said, “Things happen between grown people but the kids, they don’t have to be between that. That’s so sad."

Chronister said this is something so horrific that no parent should experience and no first responder should witness.

He wants those at the scene and those in the community struggling to know help is available.

Meredith Grau, a licensed mental health counselor, says the tragedy will have widespread impact, reminding that people deal with traumatic grief differently.

"Those people that know this family and can be a support and wrap their arms around to see what steps are next I think is really important, and anyone who’s needing to talk and get support further can certainly call 211,” she said.

Retired police officer Meg Ross is the first responder ambassador for the crisis center. She encourages those who responded to talk about what they saw.

"It’s very common of course for anger but there’s grief and they are relating,” Ross said. “They see these two children and as a parent, they’re thinking of their own children. These kind of incidents, they carry with them forever."