Brawl erupts at child's birthday party; 1 dead

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by JONATHAN BETZ / WFAA

khou.com

Posted on March 26, 2012 at 10:51 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 8:01 AM

ELLIS COUNTY, Texas — One person was killed and seven others were injured at a girl's birthday party in rural Ellis County early Sunday morning.

Investigators said four of the victims — including an 11-year-old child — were shot, two were stabbed and two others were beaten outside a Ferris area home. All of the injuries were to adults, except for the 11-year-old.

Jesus Loya, 14, and his brother Rafael, 11, left the party minutes before the violence erupted. Earlier, the boys had joined their friend in a limo to church before ending the evening dancing at the house of the girl's uncle.

“It was okay,” Jesus said. “A lot of people were drinking and stuff, other than that, nothing bad.”

Investigators think the violence erupted over an argument after the party ran out of beer.

“It doesn’t make sense in a sane world,” said Ellis County Sheriff's Office Lt. R.D. White. “That’s why we’re trying to sort it out.”

Investigators have been getting conflicting information and are still waiting to interview some of the victims who remain at various Dallas-area hospitals. No arrests have been made because officers are still trying to piece together exactly what happened.

Lt. White said the violence appeared to break out between two different groups at a Quinceañera party for a child who was turning 15.

Police responded to the 200 block of Wickliffe Road shortly after midnight Saturday. Investigators said family members turned on each other using guns, knives, and even a brick.

At least two handguns were fired in the dispute which lasted no more than five minutes.

"There was two rounds of gunshots," neighbor Teresa Duran told News 8. "We came out to look, and there was so much chaos of cars leaving and people were running and people were screaming for family members that we didn't know what was going on."

The fatality was an adult male, White said. Investigators have not released his name.

The Loya brothers had just walked to their home down the street when they heard the gunshots.

“I heard four fires,” Rafael said. “Then I heard screaming: ‘No, don’t do it! Don’t do it!’”

A bullet hit the 11-year-old in the stomach. Moments later his brother ran to the Loyas' house for help.

“This boy came over and he said, ‘They shot my brother! They shot my brother!’”

Deputies expect the boy to survive.

The violence shocked many in this rural neighborhood near Ferris. Homes stand on several acres of land, and many neighbors know each other.

“It was terrible,” Rafael said. “Why do people bring guns to parties?”

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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