"I'm having chills right now thinking of the family, and what would she have to face," said Wilka Toppins, an attorney who has known the family for more than 20 years. "I hope and pray the community sticks together."
On Wednesday afternoon, Houston Police were called to a grisly scene in the 11600 block of Manor Park Drive, where they found three family members dead and two others were wounded. A baby who was also in the home was not harmed but was evaluated at a hospital.
It now appears that a young, adult relative identified as Mark Van Beverhoudt, who was staying with the Harris family because they were helping him was the one who opened fire, then turned the gun on himself.
Multiple friends and family tell ABC13 that Matt, one of his adult daughters, and the relative were killed. Norma and the relative's wife were injured. That couple's baby was unharmed.
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When police responded to a call from one of the surviving victims, officers arrived to find Matt dead in the driveway. They then located the other victim and the suspected shooter inside.
Who were the victims?
"Norma was helping me with PPP," said Toppins, referring to the government loan available to small business owners. "When [COVID-19] hit and we were all needing money, and she went out of her way ... it was a lifeline."
"We're very grateful for Norma Harris for what she did for this company and we are praying for her quick recovery," said Juan Guevara Torres, the CEO of NowMedia Digital.
Torres said other banks had turned him down, but Norma helped him get a loan through her employer, Third Coast Bank.
"At this point, I think the psychological recovery is going to be way more. We're going to do whatever it takes to support her family."
Friends say Matt had retired from the financial industry and was doing full-time volunteer work with his church, St. Michael's, where he's on the pastoral council.
He volunteered every weekend to serve food to those in need. The Archdiocese of Houston-Galveston did not comment, other than to say it was praying for the family.
Family and friends are at Norma's side at the hospital. She is expected to make a full recovery. The motive behind the shooting is still under investigation.
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