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Father, 11-year-old daughter shot in Zephyrhills

ZEPHYRHILLS — A man and his 11-year-old daughter arrived at a local hospital early Friday with gunshot wounds, authorities said.

Kenneth Criger, 44, had been shot at least once in the back. His daughter, whose name has not been released, was shot in the jaw. Both are non-life-threatening injuries, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

Detectives are still piecing together what happened, but they suspect drugs were involved.

"One of our primary concerns is that we have an 11-year-old shot in our county. We're going to do everything possible to bring somebody to justice for that," Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco said.

About 4 a.m. Friday, Criger drove two unidentified adults to a house at 8601 Old Lakeland Highway, the Sheriff's Office said. His daughter was in the car.

The two adults, whose names have not been released, walked around the house and tried to get inside, authorities said.

Then one of them picked up a brick and threw it through the window of a car parked at the house. Someone from the house came outside and started shooting at the truck, authorities said.

Criger was shot once in the back. Deputies said the bullet may have fragmented when it hit his truck, causing four puncture wounds. His daughter was shot once in the left jaw.

Criger drove to a Zephyrhills hospital and his daughter was transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. She is in good condition, though she needs surgery, authorities said.

Child Protective Services is investigating, Nocco said.

The Sheriff's Office SWAT team searched the Old Lakeland Highway house about 12:30 p.m. Friday and found no one inside. They did find a gun and evidence of drug manufacturing materials, authorities said.

Times staff writer Marissa Lang contributed to this report.

Father, 11-year-old daughter shot in Zephyrhills 08/12/11 [Last modified: Friday, August 12, 2011 6:01pm]
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