HOUSTON – Houston Police are investigating a double homicide along a Midtown roadway.
Police responded to Dennis Street, not far from Fannin and McGowen, in the early-morning hours Monday.
The details surrounding this double killing are nothing short of brutal.
Witnesses say a group of up eight people armed with several weapons swarmed a transgender woman and a man out in the street.
Then both of their lives came to an end after gunfire erupted.
The shooting scene was located near several popular bars and restaurants.
“I thought it was for me at first,” Marcus Mukes, witness, said. “I thought, 'Is someone trying to shoot me?'”
There was a barrage of bullets echoing into the night, forcing people in this Midtown neighborhood to take cover.
Mukes believes those initial shots were a just warning of the violence that escalated.
“No, they were shooting up in the air to let her know ‘I’m coming to get you,’” he said.
Mukes and several other witnesses say the aggressors first used what looked like a crow bar or tire iron to hit at least one of the victims over the head.
Shortly after that, the two victims were shot. Both died at the scene.
“Just how somebody whooped her and beat her like that. I think it could happen to me and it really hurts,” Mukes said.
Relatives and friends, identified the victims as Shante Thompson, who recently began living her life as a transgender woman, and Willie Sims.
Police haven’t speculated on a motive in the killings, but Thompson’s mother says Thompson was no stranger to conflict.
“They were bothering him. They kept on picking on him,” Leola Thompson, the victim’s mother, said. “He (Shante) was telling me that for a long time, they have been bothering him and bothering him. I’ve been trying to keep him down from this way.”
She and other family members say Thompson had been having problems with a group of guys in this neighborhood, and they wonder if they could be behind this ruthless attack.
“I know y'all watching and looking,” Leola Thompson said. “My son is dead and y'all are still here. You didn’t have to kill my son.”
Homicide detectives will only say that they are following up on several leads hoping to bring these two families justice.
“It really hurts me. I have always looked for Shante. I was always been there for her,” Kevin Braxton, victim’s friend, said. “When I got the call and saw her laying on the ground it really hurt my heart.”
Relatives say Thompson was killed just one month shy of her 35th birthday.
This is not the first time Thompson’s mother has lost a loved one to violence, but she tells KHOU 11 News losing a child is by far the greatest heartbreak she has ever faced.
Anyone with information is asked to call Houston Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.