A birthday party for a 9-year-old girl turned senselessly tragic on a Sunday night in Fort Worth, Texas, as a gunman fired into the group with a high powered rifle. About a dozen children were outside the apartment in the 5700 block of Anderson St. in Southeast Fort Worth, when someone fired 11 shots in their direction. As everyone ran inside for cover, the barrage of bullets began again, whizzing through the walls and window of the apartment. When it was all over, 2 adults and 4 children had been shot, including the birthday girl, her 10-year-old sister, and their l2-year-old cousin. Tragically, one adult and one child died. Grandmother Annette Stevenson, 48, was pronounced dead at the scene. She was found with gunshot wounds to her breast, back and thigh, after herding several of the children inside a bedroom and ordering them to get down. Her 5-year-old granddaughter, Queshawn Stevenson, died a short time later at an area hospital, after succumbing to gunshot wounds to her abdomen and shoulder/neck area.
Thankfully, the adult and three other children shot sustained non-life threatening injuries and were expected to recover. Nahtica Stevenson, the birthday girl who turned 9 on Monday, was treated for graze wounds to her legs and released. Yet she stayed at the hospital to be with her family and sister, CashMo’nae Stevenson, who had more serious injuries. She was shot in her arm, shoulder and hand, breaking her wrist and elbow. She underwent surgery Monday afternoon. The l2-year-old cousin was treated for a grazing wound to the head.
Witnesses to the scene describe a black car pulling into the Village Creek Town Homes parking lot. According to reports, a man then got out of the passenger side and walked to open the trunk. As he then walked away, some noticed a red dot following his leg, and realized he was carrying what looked like an SXS rifle. The man reportedly went to an apartment door before walking between apartment buildings. He then fired toward the apartment of the party before fleeing on foot. The car that had dropped the man off sped away a short time later. Some of the witnesses recognized the gunman as someone who had visited the apartment complex before, but knew him only by his nickname: Truman.
After searching a gang database and giving witnesses a photo lineup, police identified the alleged murder suspect as Eric Daniel “Truman” Davila. U.S. Marshals task force members and SWAT officers then set up surveillance at the Cooper Creek Apartments where Davila lived. After spotting him leaving in a black Mazda, police followed in an unmarked car. Davila caught on and tried to elude them, hitting two parked cars before bailing out and fleeing on foot. He was caught after a short foot chase. Police say he tried to dump a pistol in some bushes shortly after bailing from the car.
Following the incident, police were still trying to figure out a motive for this senseless act. Andre, a man identifying himself as the alleged gunman’s brother, didn’t believe Davila could be involved. “He ain’t got no reason to shoot up the family like that,” he told reporters. “I know my brother. He wouldn’t do something like that.” When asked if it was gang-related, homicide Sgt. J.D. Thornton only said, “we haven’t determined what the motive is, and nothing is being ruled out.” Police believe others may be involved in the crime.
If this was a gang shooting, it was especially senseless and reckless, even for gang members. Children are routinely gunned down amidst gang violence, but you’d think even the most brutal and foolish among them would have more sense than to fire in the direction of a party of kids.., or that someone with a laser sight on the end of his high power rifle would manage better marksmanship. It’s almost as if the children at the party were themselves targeted. Either way, the end result was equally as tragic, and it goes down as just another senseless act of urban violence.
Talisha Stevenson, Annette Stevenson’s daughter and Queshawn’s aunt, described returning to the home where the shooting occurred. She said the blood stains were still visible on the carpet, with two big patches where each person had died. “We covered it up with newspaper and got what we could get,” she said. “Nobody wants to go in there. We’re not moving back.”