Toddler, father fatally shot in Dania Beach murder-suicide

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities are investigating after, they said, an argument led a man to shoot his two young children before turning the gun on himself.

It happened in a neighborhood along West Dania Beach Boulevard and Southwest Eighth Avenue, at around 1:30 a.m., Wednesday.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, 32-year-old Timothy Hollis shot and killed his daughter, 1-year-old Kalila Hollis, and then shot and critically injured his 7-year-old son Timothy Hollis Jr. He then turned the gun on himself, ending his life.

Hollis and Kalila were pronounced dead at the scene. His son was transported to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in critical condition. He remains hospitalized with life-threatening injuries.

On Wednesday, friends and acquaintances of Hollis appeared to be shocked by the tragic turn of events. “You know, that’s why when they told me that this morning, that just don’t add up,” said James, a family friend. “Because I used to see him almost every day. I played with the baby and everything, so that just don’t add up.”

Local minister Robinson Leonard is also in disbelief. “Very sick, [and it happened] right in the neighborhood of my school, and people bring their children every day,” he said.

Neighbors said Hollis seemed like a good father, and they would frequently see him in the yard with his children. “They used to be outside with the little girl walking her. She’d be out here walking, playing with the kids, playing catch,” said Luell Gordon. “She’d be right there, by the road, right there by the little car. He’d be sittin’ on the hood of the car, and he’ll lean back and play with her — a great family.”

Detectives said it all started with an argument between Hollis and the children’s mother, 34-year-old Lashunda Bowers, near a family member’s home. “The incident actually began at another location in Central Broward,” said BSO spokesperson Gina Carter. “The incident was brought on by an argument between the parents of these children. They drove from that Central Broward location to this neighborhood. Once they were in this area, the mother actually left the vehicle they were in, trying to reach a relative’s home to seek aid.”

Shortly after, deputies said, Bowers heard gunfire. “While in that home, she heard shots being fired. When she and her relatives came out, they discovered the bodies and the injured child,” said Carter.

Investigators said Bowers and her relatives discovered her son lying on the street, while Kalila and her father’s lifeless bodies were discovered on a sidewalk nearby.

According to relatives and friends, Hollis was at his son’s football practice, Tuesday night, and everything seemed normal.

Wednesday afternoon, Pastor Sean Jarrett offered words of encouragement to Timothy Jr.’s Dania Beach Bears teammates before they hit the football field. “God, I just pray that you lift up this family,” he said as he led them in prayer.

Pastor Jarrett chanted, “One love,” where the team responded with, “One love.” He then chanted, “One family,” and they responded, “One family.”

The Dania Beach Bears’ coach is Andrew McBean, whose brother Jermaine McBean was fatally shot by Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Peter Peraza in 2013. McBean struggled to make sense of this new tragedy while the young football players ran drills. “He was a very good kid, easygoing, very laid back. I’m devastated.”

People who knew Hollis said he appeared to be a loving father. “That’s heartbreaking, because I see that little baby every day and the family,” said one woman, who did not wish to be identified. “She was a sweet little baby, just learning how to walk, she was 1-year-old, she always waved hi.”

Those close to the family said there were never any signs of abuse or conflict. “The mama was quiet,” said the undefined woman. “She was a good mother, hardworking mother. The daddy, I grew up with the daddy. He didn’t seem to be any harm to the kids, but what triggered that, I don’t know.”

Now, loved ones are mourning the loss of Hollis and his daughter, and they are praying his son is able to pull through. “It’s heartrending to hear of this,” said Leonard. “I just can’t grasp what’s going on.”

“You know how couples are. When they get behind closed doors, things happen,” said Gordon, “but when they’re out in public, generally, they don’t show nobody their true side.”

It appears Hollis’ sister lived in the apartment complex where the shooting took place. However, that information has not yet been confirmed by authorities.

Homicide detectives continue investigating.

The Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed they have a history with Hollis and his family, and they are trying to determine whether anything could have been done to prevent the fatal shooting.

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