GALENA PARK – A community was left in shock, and friends and family were in mourning after three teenage girls were killed in a murder-suicide in Galena Park over the weekend.
The tragedy happened inside a home on 2nd Street near Eastway late Saturday.
The victims were 19-year-old Sayuri Gill, who was six months pregnant, her 13-year-old sister Melany Torres, and their 14-year-old neighbor, Laisha Perez.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez says the shooter was the live-in boyfriend of the sisters’ mother. Detectives said he grew jealous after another man spoke to the mother and had been drinking all day. The mother was not home when he fatally shot her daughters and their friend.
Gonzalez says the man then sexually assaulted a 12-year-old girl and told her to leave the house. She managed to grab a 1-year-old, who was also in the home at the time and fled to safety. The boyfriend then shot and killed himself.
SEE ALSO: HCSO: 3 teens, 1 man dead in apparent murder-suicide at Galena Park home, 2 children escape to seek help
The sound of a gunshot and screaming could be heard through Ring surveillance cameras from a neighbor’s home.
“I heard gunshots last night at about 10:30. I have cameras, you can see it on this tree here, and then all over the house. I saw someone run down the road there, so I got up,” said David Brown, who lives across the street.
On Sunday, the teens were remembered in a vigil.
“Sad, shocked about what happened,” Susy Villafranca said.
Villafranca says two of the shooting victims were her nieces. The teens’ mother, Lily, stood next to her with a broken heart.
“They were happy girls. They were always smiling. Even if I feel bad, they always had a positive comment,” Villafranca said.
Now, the family is keeping the victims’ memories alive through pictures. They are trying to process why something like this happened.
The 13-year-old victim was a sixth-grade student at Galena Park Middle School.
SEE ALSO: Teen arrested in shooting death of 17-year-old Galena Park High School student, deputies say
The Galena Park Independent School District released the following statement involving her death, and the death of another teen that happened days earlier.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic events which occurred on Thursday, February 16, 2023, and Saturday, February 18, 2023, in the Galena Park community involving our students and their families. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to the student’s families and friends and ask you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. At this time, we are offering support to students and staff at the impacted campuses as needed. Our goal is to respect the families during this time of loss and provide them with services the district offers as they cope with these tragedies.”
If you would like to help the family, you can send Villafranca an email to Susyvillafranca@icloud.com or donate to the family’s GoFundMe.
The mayor of Galena Park sent the following statement regarding the incident:
“As Mayor of the City of Galena Park, Texas, I want to extend my heartfelt condolences to the residents affected by the tragedies our town has endured in the past week. I, like you all, am shocked, saddened and devastated by the loss of life and horrific assault suffered upon our community. As a parent, I can’t even begin to fathom what the families are going through.
Last Thursday, February 16, 2023, a seventeen-year-old child was fatally shot in the parking lot of the Baggett Community Center. Only two days later, on Saturday, February 19, 2023, three children were murdered, and one was sexually assaulted by an assailant who later committed suicide by gunshot. I want to assure our children and families that there is no reason to feel unsafe at this time. The prime suspect for the murder at the Baggett Community Center has been identified and taken into custody and transferred to the custody of the Harris County Sheriff’s office.
I also want to express appreciation for the immediate and professional response of our Police, EMS, and the Sheriff’s department, and assure that there is no continuing threat and that the City is safe and secure as always.”