Houston funeral interrupted by gunfire

August 17, 2012 10:00:00 PM PDT
A family was saying their final farewells to a loved one Saturday on Houston's south side when they were interrupted by gunfire.

Police say a drive-by shooting happened outside Gloryland Missionary Baptist Church in the 7400 block of Coffee.

At least 100 people were attending a funeral for 30-year-old Robert Batist when the suspects opened fire on the church building, causing panic inside.

"People running, hollering," Batist's relative Reginald Pollard said, describing the scene Saturday. "They're shooting. You don't know if they're coming inside. You don't know if they are outside waiting to ambush you when you come out the door."

An off-duty Houston police officer ran outside when they heard the shots. The suspects reportedly fired at him and he fired back.

According to police, no one was injured.

Batist was murdered August 8 just around the corner from the church, family members tell us.

According to community activist Quanell X, Batist was known as a high-profile gang member and his family was receiving death threats prior to the funeral, especially about what was going to take place during services. Quanell said he informed the Houston Police Department, which sent two patrol units to monitor the church building during the funeral.

Quanell had just finished speaking about 15 minutes before the shots were fired. He said the incident could have killed many innocent people.

"What angers and upsets me the most about all of this is: one, you will have no respect, no decency for the house of worship to shoot up a funeral regardless of what you gang members have going on on the streets," Quanell said.

Several witnesses were detained for questioning, police said.

The shooting remains under investigation. Anyone with information can call HPD or Crime Stoppers.


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