A North Carolina sheriff's deputy says he heard wailing in the darkness and plunged into an apartment complex's pond at night to rescue two young girls who, police say, had been thrown there to drown by their father. Durham County Sheriff's Deputy David Earp, who lives around the corner from the pond, was off duty and says he rushed out with little more than his department T-shirt, badge, and flashlight after the apartment manager called him at home around 9pm Sunday to report some kind of trouble. "I heard something about children, that they might possibly be in trouble," says Earp. "And after I was informed that there were kids involved, instinct took over just to go out there and rescue them."
Earp spotted the girls in the dark with his flashlight and saw a 5-year-old floating and crying. Her 3-year-old sister was fully submerged. Earp says he charged into water about 5 feet deep and scooped them up, holding one in each arm. Police said the younger girl was in critical condition yesterday and the older girl in good condition. Their father, Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter, was charged with three counts of attempted murder: one count for each of the girls and a third for their 7-year-old brother, who ran away to escape him. In a 911 call, Lassiter said he had drowned his daughters and told a dispatcher that Child Protective Services wanted to take his children away while he dealt with "pedophilia things" and "sexual desires," the News & Observer reports. (Read more North Carolina stories.)