HOUSTON (KTRK) --For the first time, we're hearing from the families of the victims in a fatal shooting at Haverstock Hills Apartments in northeast Harris County over the weekend.
Residents at the complex rallied for security upgrades.
One of the victims was Christopher Beatty. Tuesday would've been his 33rd birthday. Instead of a party, his mother, Tammy Larkin, is planning his funeral. ABC13 spoke with her at a balloon release and vigil.
"He had been telling me, mom, I want out. I'm gonna get out. He'd been telling me for the last three weeks I'm saving my money to move out of these apartments," Larkin said. "An hour before he got shot, I was talking to him on the phone and he said, mom, I'm trying to move out of here."
Beatty's friend, Gary Wayne Rusher Jr., was also killed.
"Wayne was one of the most awesome fathers I know," said Gretchen McKinnon-Batiste. "He loved his daughters. He had three daughters and he had one on the way."
Four others were shot, including Rusher's brother Isaiah and sister, former America's Next Top Model finalist Brandy Rusher.
"She's actually started her business with braiding hair, getting ready to get back into the fashion field," said aunt Gretchen McKinnon-Batiste.
She told us Isaiah tried protecting her.
"They have really focused on his hand because his hand was injured from trying to block a bullet from hitting his sister in the head. So he took it in his hand. He was shot if I'm not mistaken, a total of five times."
RELATED: Brothers charged in deadly apartment shooting
Beatty lived at the complex. Investigators say the group had gotten into an argument with another resident. A few minutes later, investigators said two men drove up and got a semi-automatic rifle out of the trunk. Harris County Sheriff's Office Homicide investigators say Harvey pointed the semi-automatic rifle.
He's charged with aggravated assault.
His brother, Jeremy Jones, allegedly then pointed it and shot all six victims. He's charged with capital murder.
Neither are in custody.
"Why are you coming through just shooting people? For what? What's the problem?" asked Larkin.
"These are still human beings. We are praying for them," added McKinnon-Batiste.
While the families call for justice, at a community rally at Haverstock Hills, the community called for more security. Led by a local pastor, the hundred-plus people chanted: "This is our neighborhood. Shut the gate. Give us the cameras. Give us our pass. Give us our guard. Give it to us right now."
Larkin believes the complex should be torn down.
Management at Haverstock Hills released the following statement Tuesday:
Equality Community Housing is saddened by this tragic incident. We extend our deepest condolences to the victims and their loved ones. This senseless act negatively impacts Haverstock Hills and our community at large. We have made great strides with reducing crime in our community. We remain committed to our continued efforts to apply all best practices in detouring crime, and work closely with law-enforcement to support their efforts. Being that the two suspects charged with this crime were not residents of our complex, this is a call for greater, more collaborative civic action including Haverstock Hills residents, local community leaders as well as city officials. We will continue to take active steps to help the community recover from this unnecessary violence and sustain a safer environment.
The Rusher siblings' family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for funeral expenses, caring for the children Gary left behind and caring for Brandy's 4-month-old while she continues her long recovery.
The attorney for Jeremy Jones told Eyewitness News that Jones was 20 miles away from the scene at the time of the shooting, and cell phone records will prove he is innocent. He's in the process of contacting investigators to arrange for Jones to come in.
We will update you on air, online, and our ABC13 News App as this story develops.
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