Levar Dawson, 35, of Pompano Beach, appeared in court Tuesday, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported. A police report read in court said Dawson went to the apartment where the teenage babysitter was taking care of his children Monday evening and pulled out a handgun while he was talking to his daughter.
He was involved in a battle over child support, a sheriff's deputy said.
Dawson faces seven criminal charges, including domestic violence, aggravated assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and aggravated child abuse with cruelty, his booking record shows.
He is also charged with burglary, resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
"Pointing a gun at children and then the children knowing their father is going to shoot them is a form of torture," Judge John Jay Hurley said during Tuesday's hearing. "We know that torture can be physical and psychological."
Investigators say Dawson drove home and tried to talk a neighbor into hiding him after the babysitter locked him out of the apartment.