Houston police: Dad targeted, fatally shot at home while son hosted sleepover party

February 4, 2013 10:05:24 AM PST
A man was shot and killed in the middle of his young son's sleepover party, and now the search is on for the suspected shooter who police say may have targeted the victim.

Police say the 35-year-old father of three was gunned down when he answered the door of his Montrose-area home.

The shooting happened around 8pm Friday in the 1800 block of Porstmouth.

According to police, the victim -- identified as Ashley Rowell -- was home with his wife and several children when they heard someone at the door. When Rowell answered, the gunman shot him.

Police say the victim staggered into the living room in view of his wife and children before collapsing onto the floor. His wife and eight-year-old son called 911, but Rowell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Rowell's son had a couple friends over for a sleepover at the time of the killing.

"Our hearts go out to them and anything we can do to help them, we're here, rally around them as a neighborhood," said Dr. Yana Finkelshteyn, Rowell's neighbor.

Police say it was not a home invasion. Investigators believe the victim and the shooter knew each other. What they're working to find out is who the attacker was and why he targeted the victim.

"It's traumatic for any neighborhood but as far as anybody living in this area wondering 'Oh my God, are we next?', we don't believe that this that situation," HPD Sgt. Brian Harris said.

Detectives say Rowell was a successful businessman who sold his beer distribution business in Pasadena last year.

On the Buffalo Bayou Brewing Facebook page, thoughts and prayers go out to his family. One person posts, "He did so much to improve the craft beer community in Texas and he will be missed."

At the No Label Brewing Companies Facebook page, those who knew him say he was "good, fun loving guy," and "a great person, family man, and boss."

Investigators plan to do what's called a psychological autopsy on Rowell, putting together business dealings and friendships to find out who would want to hurt him.

"And I hate to hear it -- most of all I hate to hear it for the family -- but it does concern me because ... I can't imagine anything like that happening here," said a neighbor who identified himself only as John.

Rowell was also the brother-in-law of an HPD motorcycle officer who was called to the scene by patrol officers who responded.

Witnesses saw a dark-colored sedan speeding away from the area. If you have any information about the crime, call HPD or Crime Stoppers.

Stay with Eyewitness News and abc13.com for the latest details.

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