HOUSTON – Lorenza and Terrence Shepherd got the phone call every parent dreads early Sunday after a mass shooting at a house party in Cypress.
Their daughter, 17-year-old Ariel Shepherd, was one of two teens killed by the gunman.
"My daughter didn’t deserve to die, she didn’t," Lorenza Shepherd said as she choked back tears. "She was only 17, she hadn’t really lived life."
Eighteen others were injured by the gunfire that erupted in the middle of a birthday celebration.
"This was an extreme shock," Lorenza Shepherd said. "I never imagined in my wildest dreams that my daughter would become a victim of violent crime.
"I just can’t imagine someone would go to a party and just bust it up and start shooting," Shepherd said. "It’s just, like, a senseless crime. Don’t they have any emotions? I mean how could they do something like this?"
Lorenza Shepherd described her first-born child as "a social butterfly."
"My daughter’s like an angel. She’s the sweetest thing. Ariel is gentle, warm, kind," her mother said. "She was very loving, loved her family. She was loved by a lot of people, she touched a lot of people’s hearts."
The heartbroken mother is still trying to wrap her head – and heart – around the loss of the daughter she called her "best friend."
"You can’t imagine the pain I feel right now. It’s indescribable," she said.
Ariel’s parents knew she was out with friends Saturday night, but they didn’t know she was at the birthday party.
"This senseless killing has to stop. A little child died because someone was upset with someone else," Terrence Shepherd said. "I’m glad the police did a great job of finding these guys real quickly and they will feel the full extent of the law."
Shepherd had a message for the teen accused of pulling the trigger.
"Repent and Jesus will save your life," He said. "Although you committed murder, God will still give you an opportunity. Although you did this to my child, I forgive you and I hope that someday you will find Christ and that this will be erased from your record."
The Shepherds knew the other victim, 17-year-old Que’ric Richardson. He used to play basketball with their son.
"That was his favorite thing," said Nick Currera, a friend of Richardson’s. "He would always be out here playing basketball, and he was always talking about going to the pros."
Currera lives across the street from Richardson’s family and said Que’ric also had dreams of going to college.
"A very nice kid, always went to school, not the troublemaker," Currera said.
Lawrence Guidry, Que’ric's dad, said "he would love you if he knew you."
"I'm not quite sure how I'm doing, but I'm doing what I can right now," said Brandy, Que'ric's mother. "I'm trying to hold up if I can get past the funeral."
The Guidry family has seven kids and Que'ric was the oldest.
"I don't know how to tell them, and I'm going to have to tell the," Lawrence said.
Now two families are mourning the "angel" and the "very nice kid" who were just trying to have fun at a birthday party.