A burst of gunfire at an 18-year-old girl’s birthday party left two dead, another two critically wounded and dozens hurt.
It was a chaotic scene as people jumped from second-floor windows to escape the shooting at the suburban Houston home.
More than 100 people, mostly 17 to 19-year-olds, had gathered at the home in Cypress last night, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office said.
Partygoer Shaniqua Brown said it “was not rowdy at all” and many people were dancing when they heard the shots, which police said were fired between 11:30pm and midnight.
Authorities said they are seeking two gunmen.
A man and woman died – one at the scene and another at a hospital. As many as 22 people were hurt, with injuries ranging from gunshot wounds to twisted ankles by those fleeing in panic.
Sheriff’s spokesman Thomas Gilliland said authorities are still trying to determine the condition for many of the injured.
He said deputies were confronted with “mass chaos” when they responded to the call in the residential area about 25 miles northwest of Houston, adding that “kids were literally everywhere.”
He said witnesses reported partygoers jumping from the second floor in their scramble to flee.
Mariah Boulden told the Houston Chronicle it was her birthday party. She said her brother and others were patting down people as they entered her home.
Two men refused to be searched and walked away, she told the newspaper, then apparently hopped over a neighbour’s fence and entered through a back gate.
“They wasn’t supposed to be here whoever they was,” Miss Boulden said.
Miss Brown said word about the party was spread through Instagram, a photo-sharing app and website.
She said she first heard gunshots in the house and they continued outside as people ran into the streets seeking cover. She said she saw one gunman when she ran outside to escape.
Pools of blood were visible outside the two-storey brick home.
Karen Briones was visiting relatives in the area when the shooting occurred.
“Girls were crying and screaming, banging on people’s doors asking them for help and to call” the police emergency dispatcher, she told the Houston newspaper.
The sheriff’s statement said those hurt were taken to at least five area medical centers or hospitals, some by paramedics and some in private vehicles. Mr Gilliland said some people were shot in the foot, ankle and hip.
Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Christina Garza told the Chronicle that at least one parent was in the house.
Mr Gilliland said investigators were trying to determine if alcohol had been served at the party.