CITRUS PARK, Fla. -
Detectives from two agencies say a man crossed the county line Sunday in a violent rampage. It began in Pasco with two home invasions, and ended in Hillsborough with two people shot dead and another in the hospital.
The crime spree started in Odessa, where Jason Burnett, 37, committed two home invasions, according to Pasco County deputies. The first was around 9:45 a.m. on Tifton Lane, and a second about 15 minutes later on Rowland Drive.
Danielle Prince says she and her boyfriend were inside the Rowland Dr. home when a man with a gun kicked in the front door. "He hit him in the head with a gun," she explained. "I saw my boyfriend was bleeding, so I ran over and grabbed his head. Then my boyfriend was shielding me from the gun and the assailant, and he just kept asking for money."
Prince says she gave him money and he left.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Burnett then traveled to a home on Manhattan Drive, just off of Gunn Highway. That's where three women were shot, 35-year-old Christina Soto, 56-year-old Fern Giddings, and 52-year-old Nell Mason. Soto is in stable condition at the hospital after she managed to run from the home, but Giddings and Mason died.
"I'm going to miss them all so much," said Glenda Williams, who knew both Giddings and Mason. "I can't get over it. This happened right across the street from a police station. What does that say?" she questioned.
Investigators in both Pasco and Hillsborough say they know why it happened. They say the homes were targeted because Burnett believed there might be drugs and cash inside.
Jason Burnett is now facing two counts of first-degree murder.
Another man, 47-year-old Gary Honish, has also been charged with being an accessory for driving Burnett to the home in Hillsborough County.