14-year-old bystander shot when suspect targeted student near SW Houston middle school, HPD says

Jeff Ehling Image
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Shooter between 14 and 16 on the run after teen bystander shot
Police are investigating after a teenager riding in a car was struck by gunfire near Welch Middle School in southwest Houston on Wednesday morning.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Police are investigating after a teenager riding in a car was struck by gunfire near a middle school in southwest Houston on Wednesday morning.

Houston ISD's Welch Middle School was "temporarily in secure mode as a precautionary measure while police investigated suspicious activity in the area," according to a statement from the district.

According to Houston police, a Welch Middle School student got into a dispute with another juvenile on Tuesday, and that's what led to the shots fired Wednesday.

Officers received a call from HISD police around 7:51 a.m. that gunshots were heard near the school on South Gessner near West Bellfort.

HPD said nearby officers also heard the gunfire and responded within a minute.

Investigators learned that the juvenile suspect located the middle school student on South Gessner and began firing shots.

In fear for his life, the student took off running. That's when police said the suspect began shooting at the student from a strip center on the other side of the street.

One of those gunshots struck an innocent bystander's gold Prius as they traveled on South Gessner. Police said a 14-year-old in the passenger's seat was shot in the right side of his body.

Officers were able to quickly provide first aid to the 14-year-old and he was taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition. Police said he is expected to survive.

Investigators noted that the 14-year-old who was shot is not a student at Welch Middle School, but he is a student in HISD.

Meanwhile, the middle school student who was targeted by the gunfire ran across the street into Welch in a panic and told school officials he was being shot at.

That's when Welch temporarily went into secure mode as police investigated what was happening, HPD said.

Investigators were able to locate the suspect's vehicle a short distance away, though the shooter was nowhere to be found.

HPD said the vehicle had been reported stolen.

Multiple shots were fired from a rifle throughout the incident, police said.

Investigators described the wanted suspect only as a 14-to 16-year-old Hispanic male. They said HISD police were working with them to determine if the suspect is a student at any of their schools.

In addition to the Prius, a red pickup truck was also struck by the gunfire.

"I started hearing shooting I was like, I was ducking, because I was scared," said student Andrew Chavez.

He told ABC13 he was sitting in his mother's pickup truck while she went into a nearby donut shop to get breakfast.

Chavez heard the gunfire, and one bullet even hit his mother's truck, popping the tire.

"I just seen people run out and like, ducking," he said.

Welch Middle School parents can pick up their students if they choose, officials said, though classes have resumed for the remainder of the day.

Anyone with information on the suspect or who may have witnessed the shooting is encouraged to call HPD Major Assaults Division at 713-308-8800 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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