ATASCOCITA, Texas – A teenage girl was shot and killed Thursday by a homeowner who deputies said told them she was breaking into his northeast Harris County home.
The shooting was reported around 5:15 a.m. at the home on River Brook near Fawn Trail Lane.
Harris County Sheriff's Office Sr. Deputy Thomas Gilliland said during a news conference that the 43-year-old homeowner, who was armed with a weapon, called 911 when he heard someone inside his house.
"Deputies arrived and found a young woman dead from a gunshot wound," Gilliland said.
Family members identified the victim as 14-year-old Layla Ramos, saying the two knew one another.
"It's not a home invasion, and she's not a woman, she's a 14-year-old girl, and she's being portrayed as a robber," said Ramos' grandmother Debbie Guerrero.
Police have not identified the person shot. Deputies are investigating if there was forced entry or how the alleged intruder got into the house.
Family and friends gathered next to the crime scene tape. Ramos' mother was devastated.
"My daughter ... she was a baby," said Alana Mock, wiping away tears. "She was (a) 14-year-old ... she was doing so good."
Family members said Layla had a history of drug abuse but was getting her life back on track.
"She had the cutest dimples," Guerrero recalled. "She was in rehab. She just got out days ago."
Layla's sister said the 14-year-old did not break into the house where she was shot. The sister said she had dropped Layla off not far away.
“I saw him. I dropped her off down the street,” Ramos' sister said. “I saw him pick her up and then they were supposed to go to the store, or whatever.”
Gilliland said the homeowner and other witnesses were being questioned.
"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," Gilliland said. "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."
Family and friends stood near the home, watching investigators collect evidence for hours.
"Layla had her whole life ahead of her before this," family friend Chuck Price said. "She was only 14 years old. No matter how anyone looks at this -- she was robbed of her life today."