DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — 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 after police say their father tried to drown them.

Durham County Sheriff’s Deputy David Earp said Tuesday he was off duty and rushed out with little more than his department T-shirt, badge and flashlight after the apartment manager called him at home around 9 p.m. Sunday.

He spotted the girls in the dark and saw a 5-year-old floating and crying. Her 3-year-old sister was fully submerged.

Earp says he charged into water up to his chest and scooped them up, holding one in each arm.

The girls’ father, 29-year-old Alan Tysheen Eugene Lassiter of Raleigh, was charged with three counts of attempted murder.

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