Woman, child injured in 2 separate celebratory gunfire incidents on New Year’s Eve, police say

HOUSTON – An 8-year-old boy and a 24-year-old woman were injured by celebratory gunfire in separate instances overnight, according to Houston Police.

First incident

A New Year’s Eve celebration took a turn for the worse shortly after midnight when a 24-year-old woman was severely injured after being struck by celebratory gunfire.

Officers responded to a report of a gunshot victim at a residence in the 1700 block of Fulton Street just after midnight Friday.

Authorities said the woman and her family had been celebrating in the backyard when the woman’s “heavily intoxicated” grandfather began firing his gun in a “celebratory fashion.” One of the bullets struck the woman in the stomach, police said.

Paramedics transported the woman to an area hospital for treatment and expected to survive, police said. Her grandfather, 70-year-old Javier Villalobos was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

Booking photo of Javier Villalobos, 70, arrested & now charged with aggravated assault- serious bodily in a celebratory gunfire incident that resulted in his granddaughter, 24, suffering a gunshot to the abdomen. (Houston Police Department)

Second incident

In northwest Houston, an 8-year-old boy was injured by a stray bullet shortly before midnight.

Officers responded to a report of a shooting at an apartment complex in the 2600 block of Garden City Drive at around 11:50 p.m. Thursday.

Authorities said the child had been asleep in his bed when a stray bullet went through his bedroom wall and struck him in the hand. The boy was taken to the Texas Children’s Hospital and was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair his injured hand. His father said his son has four broken bones and tendon damage in his left hand.

“Just an unfortunate incident with gunfire instead of fireworks and my son was hit by a stray bullet,” said the child’s father, Weldon English.

Officers canvassed the area and could not locate a suspect.

“Thank god, I just moved his room around yesterday if not his headboard was right there,” English said.

According to police, it was a result of celebratory gunfire that occurred just before Midnight. Authorities said they’ve received numerous calls related to celebratory gunfire overnight.

“It’s all over the city. This is probably like the sixth or seventh one that I showed up to,” HPD Lt. Pavel said. “And it’s unfortunate that, on a day when people should be celebrating and having a good time, they end up, they’re hurting someone else or even killing somebody. So far, we haven’t had any homicides tonight but like I said we still have a bunch of victims at the hospital and it’s still ongoing.”

English said the unexpected expenses and medical bills are starting to pile up.

“His health is worth the price but how we’ll pay it? We don’t know,” English said.

It’s cases like Elgin and countless others that have forced one South Texas lawmaker to file House Bill 670.

District 39 State Rep. Armando Martinez filed the bill on Nov. 30 and is receiving support from Crime Stoppers of Houston.

“What we’re pushing for is, if you shoot a gun in the air and a bullet doesn’t land on anyone that should be a class A misdemeanor but if you hurt somebody or, God forbid, you actually kill somebody, that needs to be first-degree felony,” said Andy Kahan, the director of victim services for Crime stoppers of Houston.

Kahan said he expects a hearing to be held in the next few months and plans to travel to Austin to be in attendance.

If you would like to help the 8-year old boy and his family with medical expenses you can visit their GoFundMe page.

About the Authors:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.

Reporter, proud Houstonian, U of H alumni, and lover of all the hometown sport teams.