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Two arrested in shooting at Houston party publicized on social media

November 11, 2013|By Molly Hennessy-Fiske | This post has been updated, as indicated below.

HOUSTON -- Authorities arrested two suspected gunmen Monday in connection with a weekend shooting at a suburban party that killed two and injured 19.

Willie Young, 21, was charged with deadly conduct and Randy Stewart, 18, was charged with aggravated assault, according to Harris County sheriff’s officials. Both were still in custody.

Officials also released the name of victim Qu’eric Danariu Richardson, 17, of Katy, Texas, a Houston suburb. Richardson was shot in the head outside the party and died at the scene, officials have said.

[Updated, 2:20 p.m. Nov. 11: The other victim was Arielle Shepherd, 16, also from Katy, according to school officials, who said they were notified by the girl’s mother.  Earlier, officials had said she was 19 and withheld her name pending notification of her family.] 

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 at a home in Cypress, about 30 miles northwest of Houston. Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said more than a hundred people showed up at the house after the birthday party was advertised on social media, two suspects eluded a bouncer, entered the home and started shooting, apparently unprovoked.

Richardson attended Morton Ranch High School in Katy, where officials boosted security with added police patrols and made grief counselors available to students on Monday.

“It’s really just more to provide a sense of security for the students,” district spokesman Steve Stanford said.

Stanford said some students at the school had attended the party in nearby Cypress, but he was not sure whether any were among the injured.

The girl who threw the party said she posted her name and address on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but that her mother was home, her brother acted as a bouncer patting people down as they came in and turning away the suspects 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 urged parents and youth to restrict party invitations.

“Be aware of who’s coming to your house, who you invite. I wouldn’t use social media to invite people anyway. You open yourself up—one tweet can be retweeted hundreds of time. Your close- knit 20 friends can turn into a large number of kids coming.”

He cited the rash of parties youths held in vacant Southern California homes earlier this year in an effort to mimic the movie “Project X,” gatherings advertised online that drew hundreds and included drugs and alcohol.

If the party’s already underway and unwanted guests start showing up, Gilliland said adults shouldn’t be afraid to alert police.

“That what we’re here for. Tell them there’s people in your house and you want them removed—that’s criminal trespass,” he said.

For parents, it’s best to alert police as soon as you suspect a problem, Gilliland said.

“Discretion is the best thing to have. It’s not the people you know, it’s the people you don’t know who bring drugs, weapons, contraband. That’s when things turn bad,” he said, “The liability starts to spiral out of control.”


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