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Update: Two dead after shooting at Texas teen's birthday party

November 10th, 2013 2:43 pm by JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press

Update: Two dead after shooting at Texas teen's birthday party

People gather at a house at 7318 Enchanted Creek in Cypress, Texas, on Sunday after two people were killed Saturday night when gunfire rang out at a party there. (AP Photo)

Updated at 4:50 p.m.

HOUSTON — Celebratory gunshots fired at a girl's 18th birthday party triggered more gunfire that left two people dead, two critically injured and nearly two dozen injured in a chaotic scene where people jumped from second-floor windows to escape the shooting at a suburban Houston home, authorities said Sunday.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said the gathering Saturday night that drew more than 100 people, most of them 17- to 19-year-olds, became a "birthday party gone wild."

He said it appears partygoers were dancing in the home when someone armed with a pistol shot into the air in celebration. In the ensuing confusion, another person who was armed began firing into the crowd, Garcia said. Young people then streamed into the narrow street to avoid the burst of gunshots that followed shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday.

Authorities have given varying accounts of the number of people injured, but they clarified Sunday that 20 were hurt, with 16 suffering gunshot wounds and four others varying injuries such as a fracture and twisted ankles in the panic to flee.

The two people killed, one an 18-year-old male and the other a 16-year-old female, were high school students in Cypress, Garcia said.

He chastised the party organizers, who advertised the event on social media, saying "you have no control on who to expect at your door."

Authorities are searching for two gunmen, he said, one who's about 17 years old and the other believed to be about 22.

"It's a horrible combination of immaturity, access to a firearm, and the inability to control one's self," he said.


Earlier story:

HOUSTON — A burst of gunfire at an 18-year-old girl's birthday party Saturday night left two dead, another two critically injured and dozens hurt in a chaotic scene where people jumped from second-floor windows to escape the shooting at a suburban Houston home.

More than 100 people, mostly 17- to 19-year-olds, had gathered at the home in Cypress, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said. Partygoer Shaniqua Brown told The Associated Press it "was not rowdy at all," and many people were dancing when they heard the shots, which police said were fired between 11:30 p.m. and midnight.

Authorities say they're seeking two gunmen.

A man and woman died — one at the scene and another at a hospital. They have not been identified by name. As many as 22 were hurt, with injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to twisted ankles by those fleeing in panic. Sheriff's spokesman Thomas Gilliland said Sunday authorities are still trying to determine the condition for many of the injured.

He said deputies were confronted with "mass chaos" when they responded to the call in this residential neighborhood about 25 miles northwest of Houston, adding that "kids were literally everywhere." He said witnesses reported partygoers jumping from the second floor in their scramble to flee.

Mariah Boulden told the Houston Chronicle it was her birthday party. She said her brother and others were patting down people as they entered her home. Two men refused to be searched and walked away, she told the newspaper, then apparently hopped a neighbor's fence and entered through a back gate.

"They wasn't supposed to be here whoever they was," Boulden said.

Brown said word about the party was spread through Instagram, a photo-sharing app and website. She said she first heard gunshots in the house and they continued outside as people ran into the streets seeking cover. She told the AP she saw one gunman when she ran outside to escape.

Pools of blood were visible outside the two-story brick home Sunday, and the garage door was bent after people had pushed it upward while trying to escape.

Karen Briones was visiting relatives in the neighborhood, which is about 25 miles northwest of downtown Houston.

"Girls were crying and screaming, banging on people's doors asking them for help and to call 911," she told the newspaper.

The sheriff's statement said those hurt were taken to at least five area medical centers or hospitals, some by paramedics and some in private vehicles. Gilliland said some people were shot in the foot, ankle and hip.

Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Christina Garza told the Chronicle that at least one parent was in the house. Gilliland said investigators were trying to determine if alcohol had been served at the party.



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