• The man kicked the door of the house and pointed his gun at another woman
  • He then went into a bedroom and shot the victim twice before escaping
  • Deputies are now searching for the suspect with "a heavy build, around (5-10)"

A man wearing a skull mask forced his way into a Florida residence and fatally shot a woman while she was sitting in bed next to two sleeping children early Tuesday.

The Pasco Sheriff's Office believes the suspect, who remains at large, "directly targeted" the victim.

The shooting took place in a home on Menifee Court in New Port Richey. Deputies responded at around 12:40 a.m. and spoke to a witness at the scene, the News & Observer reported.

The witness said she was asleep on a couch when the suspect, wearing a black skull mask, kicked the door in and entered the house. The suspect first pointed a gun at the witness before going inside a bedroom, where the victim was asleep with two children.

"The victim was laying in bed with two young children ... The light comes on, she sees the suspect walk in the door," Sheriff Chris Nocco said at a press conference, according to the outlet. "The suspect points a gun directly at her, 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 man then fled the scene in a car.

The victim was taken to the hospital, but she eventually succumbed to her injuries.

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

Deputies are on the lookout for the suspect, described as having "a heavy build, around (5-10), wearing dark clothing and a black skull-type mask."

The two children who were in the same room as the victim during the shooting are both under the age of 12, according to Nocco. Their relationship with the victim is unclear.

"I can imagine (the children) were out last night trick-or-treating. I can imagine they went to bed a little bit later like all the kids last night," Nocco said further. "But to be woken up by this ... to have a suspect walk in, turn that light on and shoot the person in the bed with them, you know. It's horrific. That's the only word I can think of."

Meanwhile, neighbor Zyta Fonseca told WFLA News Channel 8, "It's absolutely sad, especially just happened right in front of my apartment complex. It's really scary."

Deputies asked residents in the area for any information that could help with the investigation.

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

Representational image (police car)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / diegoparra)