Manslaughter charge filed against apartment resident whose stray bullet killed neighbor, HCSO says

Bethany Mefford was identified as the victim who died while she was asleep. Darius Lewis is charged in her death.

Thursday, May 11, 2023
Charges filed after bullet meant for burglars hits innocent woman
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez offered a word of advice to law-abiding gun owners after deputies say an innocent woman was killed by a stray bullet fired by someone who was trying to stop car burglars.

HUMBLE, Texas (KTRK) -- Deputies have charged a man they believe opened fire at several car burglars but hit and killed an innocent woman while she was asleep.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office identified the person charged with manslaughter as Darius Lewis, whom investigators say is a resident of an Humble apartment complex where the shooting happened.

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said the 28-year-old victim, who was identified as Bethany Mefford, was found dead at about 6:15 a.m. Wednesday at Generation Grove in the 14800 block of Woodland Hills.

"This person wasn't out and about or putting herself in harm's way. She was just sleeping, as any of us would do," Gonzalez said.

Earlier in the morning, at about 2:20 a.m., the sheriff's office said Lewis fired shots at suspects who were attempting to break into vehicles. According to deputies, one of those shots went through the wall and hit Mefford in the head.

The sheriff's office revealed hours later that Lewis claimed to have only fired his gun into the ground to scare the burglary suspects. Investigators at the scene believe between six and 15 shots were fired.

Lewis was detained, questioned, and charged, the sheriff's office said.

The burglary suspects, who included two adults and a juvenile, were arrested by deputies.

Gonzalez said the woman's boyfriend was also in the apartment but not in the same room when it happened. He told deputies he remembered hearing gunshots overnight but went back to sleep because it hadn't occurred to them that one of those bullets had come through.