New year gets off to deadly start

January 1, 2011 6:28:25 PM PST
It's been a deadly 24 hours across the Houston area with at least three murders to bring in the New Year. Several of them surrounded holiday parties. Two of the deaths, say authorities, resulted from New Year's celebrations that got out of control. In one case, it was an argument taking place while two families were celebrating.

Neighbors say they were taken by surprise when they heard about what happened. The area of Westgate Pasture in west Harris County is considered quiet; where neighbors know each other. Authorities say the commotion happened after an argument between two families.

"I could not even imagine something like this could happen here," said neighbor Gufran Siddiqi. "This is sad, this is very sad."

According to investigators with the Harris County Sheriff's Office, Alberto Hernandez and Hector Rivera were arguing at around 6am on New Year's Day when the confrontation became physical. Rivera is accused of stabbing and killing Hernandez inside Rivera's garage.

Just about 30 minutes later, there was another deadly stabbing. It happened in Houston on Coventry Square. Authorities have not identified the young man said to be in his 20s who was stabbed and killed.

In far southwest Houston, at about 9pm, a man was found shot at a Conoco gas station and convenience store. The unidentified victim was taken to Ben Taub Hospital, where he later died.

More violence erupted just before midnight in Spring Branch. A woman in her 40s was shot several times. Authorities say the victim was visiting the home when an argument escalated.

"From what we gathered so far, they were drinking and it was an argument that got out of control," said Sgt. J.M. Delacruz with the Houston Police Department.

Authorities say the cases where the suspect is known have been referred to the Harris County District Attorney's Office and charges are pending.