A teenager was shot and killed in Houston, Texas and police are saying it has to do with a “social media beef.” While authorities haven’t identified the victim, family members have states the teen as 16-year-old Mareja Pratt.
On Monday, Houston police tweeted that they had responded to a shooting, where they identified two gunshot victims. They wrote that one teen female was pronounced dead at the scene and the two adult victims were transported to a hospital.
Police identified the two other victims as Mareja’s sister, 20-year-old Dekambrie Pratt, and 32-year-old Anthony Thornabar. Both are currently recovering.
“This appears to involve an ongoing social media beef with our three victims that came to this location to engage [with] the people,” Houston Police Department’s David Angelo told ABC13.
Family Feud Gone Wrong
Mareja’s family spoke with ABC13 to confirm the authorities’ claims of a social media beef and stated that another family member initiated Monday’s meeting to confront the feud. Her sisters explained that the shooting was a family feud that escalated.
While they anticipated a fight, they did not expect there to be gunfire. According to the sisters, the man who drove the family member to the meeting began shooting at the group. Police say 15 bullets were shot.
“I feel like my whole soul was ripped out,” Kira Walton, the teen’s cousin, told ABC13. “This is hard on my family. So hard.”
Mareja was a sophomore at Elsik High School and the youngest of six children.
According to Walton, her cousin had been targeted on Instagram for months. Though she didn’t identify anyone, she claims that a woman was picking on Mareja through social media to the point where she would cry.
PEOPLE reports that witnesses saw a “Black male suspect” exiting “a red Chrysler 200 and shooting multiple times at the victims.” The suspect and three females got into the vehicle to flee the scene.
Anyone with information on the shooting is encouraged to contact the Houston Police Department Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.