HOUSTON – Houston police have identified a suspect after 16-year-old Mareja Pratt was killed and two other people were injured in a shooting on Monday afternoon. Houston police said the shooting is connected to a “social media beef.”
A warrant was issued for the arrest of the suspect, Kenny Charles Garrett, 24, who faces a murder charge and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Police said Garrett was dating a friend of Pratt’s cousin at the time of the shooting. In the past, Garrett has been arrested several times on a number of different charges, including possession of a controlled substance, trespassing and unlawful carrying of a weapon.
The three victims were shot on Sharpview Drive after meeting up with another group of people involved in the issue, said HPD Commander David Angelo.
“(It’s) a very sad time where a 16-year-old female lost her life unnecessarily over something that seems to be pretty trivial, over a social media beef,” Angelo said.
The two victims who survived, Dekambrie Pratt, 20, and Anthony Thornabar, 22, were taken to the hospital. They are both expected to recover.
Kira Walton said the victim who died is her cousin, Mareja Pratt. She said Pratt was a 10th-grade student at Elsik High School. Authorities have not yet confirmed her identity.
“She was just focused. She had her whole life ahead of her,” Walton said. “(She’d) just started life and she just was happy about going to school.”
Walton said the social media conflict had to do with a woman picking on her cousin via Instagram over the last few months and the situation came to a head.
“They just came and started shooting. They killed my cousin,” Walton said. “She was innocent. She didn’t have nothing to do with it.”
Police said witnesses saw a Black man exit a red Chrysler 200 and fire up to 15 shots before fleeing the scene with three other girls.