HOUSTON—Death and destruction broke out in one Houston neighborhood Thursday afternoon in two separate cases.
There was a huge house fire that broke out shortly after 1 p.m. It came minutes after a man was shot dead in a driveway about 12:40 p.m.
The trouble erupted in Houston’s Fifth Ward just northeast of downtown. The fire engulfed a vacant home on Staples near Liberty. No firefighters or civilians were injured.
Firefighters were seen on the roof, cutting holes in it to vent the structure and battle the blaze. At times they disappeared in clouds of thick smoke.
In a separate case, gunfire erupted in the driveway of a home on Campbell at Pannell, just around the corner from the fire.
“Two girls was fighting and (the victim) called the other man’s woman a (expletive), or something like that, and he pull out a gun and shot him,” said a woman named La Tonya who said she is the victim’s cousin. “Messed up. I just seen him last night.”
Authorities have not confirmed the victim’s identity, nor have they said if the suspected gunman has been found. Callers to 911 said they saw people running from the scene and at least one car speed away.
La Tonya said the victim was about 30 years old and worked as a barber.
A woman who said she was a life-long friend said the victim had been to prison before and during his incarceration lost his mother to illness and his wife to suicide.
Sharonda McDaniel said the victim simply ran out of time.
“Everybody got a time and place when they gone leave,” she said. “You don’t know, you can be laying in the bed and next thing, they try to wake you up, you dead as a doorknob. So, you know, you can’t run from death, but you can feel it when it’s on you. You can’t run from it.”
As for the house fire, authorities said it is suspicious because not only was the house vacant, but it also had no utilities hooked up to it.