HOUSTON - A child’s birthday party turned deadly when a family friend opened fire, injuring three relatives and killing a beloved pet.
People reported that Laura Martinez was hosting a birthday party for her 13-year-old daughter on March 10 when the shooting happened.
KPRC reported that the police identified Javian Castaneda, a teenage friend of the children in the family, as the person suspected of opening fire at the party. According to a fundraising page set up by Martinez, Castaneda is 16.
“This is not something we would ever think was going to happen,” Martinez told KPRC.
The family members said they thought Castaneda had recently burglarized their house.
They said they spoke to his parents about it and after that, Castaneda showed up at the party with a gun.
KTRK reported that the family said Castaneda fired eight shots, injuring three party attendees.
“It shouldn’t have happened. It could have been stopped in other ways,” Taylor Hollier, who was shot in the foot, told KTRK. “It came down to what happened.”
According to the family, Zero, a Great Pyrenees, tried to protect the family members by biting Castaneda’s arm and, in doing so, caused him to lower the gun.
“He jumped up to protect us and never showed any fear, even when he was struck," Valerie Pace, another family member who was injured, said.
“I honestly believe if Zero had not kept jumping on him, he would’ve been able to get shots higher than our legs,” Martinez told KPRC.
Pace has two bullets in her body. Martinez was shot in the leg.
The family is asking Castaneda to turn himself in. He is wanted on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, KTRK reported.
Martinez has set up a GoFundMe page to cover medical costs and other expenses.
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