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Charges dropped against one suspect in Houston shooting

HOUSTON -- Investigators withdrew charges Tuesday against one of the suspects held in connection with shootings at a weekend birthday party that left two dead and 19 hurt.

Willie Young, 21, had been charged with deadly conduct. He was arrested Monday after three of his acquaintances told investigators that he had fired a gun at the party, sheriff’s officials said. Later, other witnesses came forward and provided information that cleared Young, officials said.

The second suspect, Randy Stewart, 18, was charged with aggravated assault in connection with the gunfire. He remained at Harris County Detention Center on Tuesday.

Qu’eric Danariu Richardson, 17, was shot in the head and killed outside the party house. Arielle Shepherd, 16, was shot inside the house and died at a hospital. Both were from the Houston suburb of Katy, where they attended Morton Ranch High School.

Investigators said it did not appear the two knew each other.

The shooting was reported shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday at an 18th birthday party in Cypress, about 30 miles northwest of Houston. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said more than 100 people showed up after the party was advertised on social media. 

The girl who threw the party, Mariah Boulden, said she had posted her name and address on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. But her mother was home, she said, and her brother acted as a bouncer, patting people down as they came in and turning away the suspect, who eventually sneaked inside. She said she had been on the verge of shutting down the party when shooting erupted.

Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland said investigators were still searching for additional suspects Tuesday.

“We’re definitely not ruling out that there’s more suspects involved in this thing,” Gilliland told The Times. “With witnesses recollections and a chaotic scene, it was a perfect storm of figuring out who did what.”

Stewart is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 18.

molly.hennessy-fiske@latimes.com

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