Dog dies protecting family during birthday party shooting

HOUSTON – Authorities identified a suspect Thursday who is believed to be involved in a weekend drive-by shooting that left three people injured and a dog dead.

The shooting happened Sunday night on Davenwood Court near Scarsdale Boulevard.

The shooting unfolded in front of Laura Martinez's home during a birthday party. The person suspected of pulling the trigger is no stranger to the family.

"This is not something we would ever think was going to happen," Laura Martinez said.

"I’m staring at the whole scene around and it almost feels like a dream," Laura's daughter Valori Pace said.

The family said the suspect, Javian Castaneda, is a friend of their kids, and that they've known him for years.

They said after a recent burglary of their house in which they suspected Castaneda was responsible, they confronted his parents.

Days later, they say Castaneda showed up to their home during the party with a gun and an argument escalated to gunfire.

"I went to go turn to run and I just feel instant pressure in my lower back. Put my hand back there and I realize there was blood all over my hands," Pace said.

In the end, Martinez and two of her children had been shot along with their dog, Zero, who died trying to protect them.

A small memorial now grows in from of their home in his honor.

"I honestly believe if Zero had not kept jumping on him, he would’ve been able to get shots higher than our legs," Martinez said.

With Castaneda still missing, the family said they’re now living in fear he could return.

They want police to find him or for Castaneda to turn himself in peacefully.

"We don’t want anyone else to get hurt. We don’t want to get hurt. We don’t want you to get hurt," Martinez said.

Anyone with information about Castaneda's location is asked to call the Harris County Precinct 2 Constable’s Office at 713-477-4070.

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Galveston-born, award-winning journalist, dog owner, foodie & occasional golfer.