Birthday party beset by crashers ends in shooting; 2 dead, 22 hurt

HOUSTON — Two people were shot to death and at least 22 others were wounded late Saturday at an 18th birthday party that drew a crowd after it was advertised on social media.

Harris County sheriff’s investigators were seeking two suspects Sunday morning in connection with the shooting at about 11 p.m. in suburban Cypress, about 30 miles northwest of Houston.

A man and a woman died, one at the scene, another at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital. investigators said. Authorities did not release names of the victims.

Shaniqua Brown, 17, a junior at nearby Cypress Springs High School, said she went to the party about 8 p.m. after being invited by a female classmate who was celebrating her 18th birthday. She brought her younger siblings, 16-year-old twins.

But after the girl mentioned her party on Instagram, including her home address, Brown said many uninvited guests appeared, and the crowd swelled to more than 100.

“We didn’t even know who half of them were,” Brown said.

The girl’s mother was in the kitchen, Brown said, and things went well for a while.

“It was not rowdy at all — everybody was just dancing,” she said.

But then a young man she didn’t recognize fired a gun inside the two-story brick house, Brown said. “Soon as I looked up, people started stepping on me” as they fled the house, she said.

Brown and her siblings were unhurt. She said young people ran screaming from the house, banged on neighbors' doors and begged them to call 911. Once she ran out, she heard more shooting outside and ran back in the house. There, she saw young people trying to flee through the garage, breaking the door.

“They were lifting it up, trying to get away,” Brown said.

Neighbors, many of them renters, heard the gunshots, came to their doors and watched youths flee, running across grassy lawns and under trees, trying to hide between neighboring homes, behind cars and in the beds of pickup trucks.

Joe White, 39, was staying a few doors down, and said when he came to his front door he saw a wounded young man trying to hide nearby. The youth, in jeans and a blue sweat shirt, ran into the street only to get shot again.

“They got him again over there,” White said, pointing from his driveway into the street, where he said the youth fell, his body twisted. By then, neighbors had emerged from nearby houses.

“We watched him take his last breath,” White said.

White, whose 18-year-old daughter attended Cypress Springs High School, said parents should advise children not to advertise parties online.

“After you have your party, put it on social media — not before,” he said.

White said his daughter transferred from the high school, which he considers dangerous.

Assistant Principal Clay Smith heard about the shooting and went to the scene Sunday. “Any time one kid is injured, it’s a tragedy,” he said, let alone a large group.

Mary Woods also heard about the shooting and rushed to pick up her children -- Brown, and the twins. They lingered outside the two-story brick house where the shooting occurred on Sunday, talking to those cleaning up.

Those who appeared to live at the house declined to comment. Sheriff’s investigators at the scene also refused to comment.

Blood stained the suburban street. A pool of blood remained under the rear wheel of a red Corolla which a young woman drove away.

“My heart just goes out to the families of those children,” Woods said.

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