Young mother shot to death leaving north Houston club

HOUSTON – A young mother was killed early Sunday when a gunman fired multiple rounds into her car near a north Houston club.

One of the bullets hit 21-year-old Essence Derouen and killed her, her mother said.

“Somebody shot her in a crossfire shooting at somebody else which was senseless,” Paula Vergin said. “Senseless, dead, for what? Because two groups of men got into it and you shoot innocent bystanders? She had nothing to do with it.”

Vergin said her daughter left Club Panda Sunday morning and was in the left turning lane near El Torito Club on Little York to make a U-turn and get onto I-45 North. Police said she was alone in the vehicle.

“When I got there I saw that her car, her gray Toyota had rear-ended another car, and when I looked into the Toyota Corolla my baby was covered in a white sheet,” said Vergin, who arrived at the scene early Sunday.

Police said  a man wearing white pants and a blue shirt walked up to her vehicle and started firing shots. The bullets hit a nearby apartment complex and also struck another car near hers, but no one else was injured. 

Derouen was pronounced dead at the scene.

The shooter left in a light colored four-door Buick, police said. They believe Derouen was not the intended target.

Derouen had a love of cooking and worked as a sous chef at Rice University. She also worked at the rodeo and had plans to go to culinary school, her mother said. She was working several jobs to support her 6-year-old son.

“What am I going to tell him about his mom? And he wants to know who killed my mom, why?” Vergin said. “I have to love him, just like his mama. Her life was taken for nothing, why? Because two groups of men don’t get along?"

Police have not made any arrests. 

Authorities are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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