Gunfire rings out at toddler's funeral

July 4, 2009 12:41:14 PM PDT
We are learning much more about what lead up to a deadly shooting outside a northeast Harris County funeral home. That shooting happened as family members were saying goodbye to a three-year-old boy Thursday night. Family members tell us this all stemmed from that child's death. He passed away on Sunday. The alleged shooter is the man officials say was caring for the boy when he died.

"It's something you just can't even fathom an answer to because it's something you can't even imagine would even happen," said a family relative, who didn't want to be identified.

That relative is at a loss. In less than one week, she's watched as her three-year-old cousin, Kedric, died unexpectedly, only to have another cousin gunned down at the very funeral held for that baby.

"You're trying to figure out why you lose this innocent three-year-old and now you're having to bury another family member," she said.

It happened Thursday night at the Brookside Funeral Home along the Eastex Freeway and Lauder. Detectives say Richard Toussiant, the boyfriend of Kedric's mother, was attending the memorial when family members asked him to leave.

According to detectives, he left, but later returned confronting the victim, 38-year-old Oscar Byrd in the parking lot.

A fight ensued, and that's when authorities say Toussiant produced a gun, shooting Byrd numerous times.

"When I was returning into the sanctuary, I heard the gunshot so I just came back in," said the relative.

That relative says the family had been suspicious of Toussiant following Kedric's death. According to CPS, the child was being cared for by Toussiant when he took ill and later died at the hospital.

According to caseworkers, Toussiant claimed the child had a seizure before he died, but the official cause of death is still under investigation.

"Because we don't understand what caused this child to die, we need to determine if it was the result of abuse or neglect," said Gwen Carter with CPS.

Authorities are still searching for Toussiant, who's been missing since the shooting. For the relative and her family, she hopes he's found soon, if only to provide some answers.

"It was all for something senseless," she said.

Toussiant is wanted for murder. He was last seen driving away in a dark colored four-door sedan. If you have any information about where he is, you're urged to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

      QUICK HEADLINES | MORE LOCAL | GET NEWS ALERTS
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ABC13 SOCIAL NETWORKING
Find us on Facebook® | Follow us on Twitter | More social networking
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MORE FROM ABC13
ABC13 widget | Most popular stories | Street-level weather
ABC13 wireless | Slideshow archive | Help solve crimes
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------