1 killed, several injured after mass shooting at club parking lot in NW Harris County, deputies say

Rosie Nguyen Image
Monday, January 16, 2023
1 killed, 4 injured after mass shooting reported outside Houston club
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More than 50 shots were fired and at least one AK47 was used during the deadly shooting that investigators believe was a targeted shooting.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- One person was killed, and four people were hospitalized after more than 50 shots were fired at a club in northwest Harris County, according to deputies.

On Sunday at about 2 a.m., deputies responded to a shooting in the parking lot of Touch Lounge near FM 1960 and Greenwood Forest Drive.

When deputies arrived, five people (two men and three women) were transported to the hospital with gunshot wounds. Investigators said one of the men died from his injuries at the hospital. They believe all of the victims are in their 20s.

Multiple people reportedly rolled up in a car, got out, and began shooting at patrons who were standing outside of the club near a food truck. Investigators said at least one AK-47 was used.

ABC13 asked Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez if deputies believe this was a targeted shooting.

"If the information is correct, that somebody exited from a vehicle and began opening fire, then that's probably a good indicator that they were coming with purpose and maybe it was targeted at somebody. Maybe there was some type of beef before inside the club that spilled out. At this point we don't know that," Gonzalez said.

One of the victims was identified by family as 20-year-old Amariah Pridgen. Her father, Clarence Pridgen, spoke only to ABC13 and said he was woken up Sunday morning to a phone call about the shooting.

"Me and my wife just woke up panicking. We live in Louisiana, so it was a four-hour ride. We just jumped in the car and drove down here," he said.

Pridgen shared that Amariah is in the National Guard and is currently a student at Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, studying the medical field. He said she is still fighting for her life after undergoing surgery at the hospital.

Coming back to the crime scene, he expressed how devastating it was to see the damage left behind.

"Just to see and know that's my baby's blood on the ground. It's so much blood. You don't know (which) is hers. Blood is all over the side of this truck. I'm ex-military, and this is just like a war zone," Pridgen said.

A second victim was also identified by family as 19-year-old Tamaya Smothers. Her mother, Kay Hampton, said she is also in the National Guard and a student at Southern University and A&M College, studying pre-nursing.

She explained that Smothers is Amariah's best friend, and they were both only in Houston for the night to attend a friend's birthday celebration. Hampton said they were planning on returning home on Sunday in time for the start of spring semester, before they were shot.

"These are good girls, upstanding students, military members who are undeserving of such cruel and violent acts!" Hampton told ABC13 over text. "Tamaya is doing exceptionally well given the extent of her injuries. We are awaiting a second surgery at this time, but she is recovering well. However, this journey will be long both physically and emotionally for her.

Dozens of evidence markers were visible at the scene and at least four cars were hit by bullets. ABC13 crews saw investigators confiscate a large firearm from one of the cars parked there. They said it was part of standard procedure and would return it to the owner if they were found to not be related to the shooting and did not have a felony.

Deputies are working to locate surveillance video and witnesses, most of whom left the scene. This is an ongoing investigation.

Authorities urge you to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston directly if you have any information related to this investigation. Tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 713-222-TIPS (8477), submitting an online tip, or through the Crime Stoppers mobile app.

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