HOUSTON – The investigation into a deadly house party shooting that left two Houston-area teens dead and 20 other people injured continues to take twists and turns. Local authorities are looking for more suspects connected to the shooting, and say the tragedy might be the result of a gang dispute. The shooting resulted in the deaths of Qu’eric Richardson, 17, and Arielle Shepherd, 16, both students at the same Houston-area high school. In the meantime, changes have been dropped against one of the defendants, 21-year-old Willie Young. Another man arrested, 18-year-old Randy Stewart, remains in custody.
Community activist Quanell X accompanied Young outside the Harris County Jail, and said the sheriff’s department rushed to judgment.
“Don’t put innocent people in jail because you may have a lazy investigator just in a rush to destroy somebody to satisfy the public appetite,” Quanell X said. “This young man, Mr. Young, has been put in jail, mistreated, taken out of his home – literally with no clothes on – and put in jail for a crime he never committed.”
Sheriff Adrian Garcia said that the department had multiple witnesses who identified Young, and followed up on “every bit of information” it felt was critical. Houston Ministers Against Crime, a local group of religious leaders, later voiced its support of Garcia in his handling of the investigation.
About 100 people attended the birthday party for 18-year-old Mariah Boulden. It was promoted through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and text messages. Witnesses said Stewart was among those who refused to be patted down by a bouncer at the entry and entered through the gate.
At around 11 p.m., someone fired a gun into the ceiling during the party, and someone else began shooting into the crowd. Some of the injured were treated for gunshot wounds, and others were injured trying to get out of the house.
Garcia said social media “caused part of the problem we’re dealing with.” He said social media could also help find the suspects. “We are asking those armed with social media to help the Harris County Sheriff’s Office bring closure to this incident,” he said.