As of July 24, no charges have been filed against a homeowner who shot and killed a 14-year-old girl Thursday, July 20. He told deputies that he had shot someone breaking into his home on River Brook near Fawn Trail Lane in Atascocita. The shooting was reported around 5:15 a.m.
The Harris County Sheriff's Department is investigating the case, and is asking for help from anyone who has information about the incident. Sgt. Cedric Collier, a public information officer with the department, said that the shooter told officers he heard someone breaking into his home through a window that had previously been damaged and had not been repaired.
The girl has been identified as Layla Ramos, who knew the homeowner and was in fact with him the night before, according to her family. She was friends with his daughter, neighbors said, but his daughter was not home at the time.
Ramos' grandmother, Debbie Guerrero, told Tribune news partner KPRC, “"It's not a home invasion … she's a 14-year-old girl, and she's being portrayed as a robber.”
Ramos had recently completed rehab for drug abuse, her family said. “"My daughter ... she was a baby," said Alana Mock, Ramos' mother. "She was (a) 14-year-old ... she was doing so good."
Ramos' sister told KPRC that she had dropped her sister off near the home the night before. “I saw him. I dropped her off down the street,” she said. “I saw him pick her up and then they were supposed to go to the store, or whatever.”
The sheriff's department questioned the homeowner and other witnesses immediately after the shooting. During a press conference held later that day, Sr. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said, "The investigation still has to continue with the evidence gathered on scene along with the statements to see how these things collaborated and how exactly do they match up. We're dealing with the death of a young female, so we have to take our time. We have to make sure that things are done correctly by procedure and by policy, so we're not going to rush anything."
According to the coroner's office, Ramos suffered “multiple shotgun wounds of neck and torso with perforations of aorta and lungs.”
People took to social media such as nextdoor.com, commenting as more information about the case was released. Neighbors of the homeowner said that Ramos used to live in the neighborhood and frequently roamed around unsupervised, even as a young girl. She was seen frequently with the man at both his home and in his vehicle, and some have speculated on the relationship between the two.
A barbecue benefit was held by family members in Houston on Saturday, July 22 to help raise funds for Ramos' funeral and a gofundme account has also been set up with a goal of $3,000.