Victims of deadly Houston flea market shooting were involved in gunfight: Officials

Thousands of people were at the busy flea market.

May 16, 2022, 12:23 PM

A fight between two groups of people led to a shooting Sunday that left two men dead and three others hurt at a busy Houston flea market, where thousands of people were shopping, authorities said.

The incident unfolded around 1 p.m. at the popular Sunny Flea Market held at the Tia Pancha Center in North Houston, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

All five people shot were involved in a fight and several are suspected of allegedly pulling guns and firing, sparking panic and causing innocent bystanders, including children, to run or dive for cover, the sheriff's office said.

Deputies responding to the call found two men dead at the scene and three others critically wounded.

PHOTO: A police officer investigates a crime scene where two people were killed and three more critically injured in a shooting at a flea market in Houston on May 15, 2022.
A police officer investigates a crime scene where two people were killed and three more critically injured in a shooting at a flea market in Houston on May 15, 2022.
Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

"A busy Sunday at the flea market with thousands of patrons when this incident went down," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "For now, it appears the wounded were all likely participants in the altercation."

The sheriff's office emphasized that the shooting was "not a random act of violence."

"There is a lot of people ... just trying to come out and enjoy the flea market, have something to eat and something to drink, so it's very tragic," said Maj. Susan Cotter, of the Harris County Sheriff's Office.

No innocent bystanders were injured, Cotter said.

Two pistols were recovered at the scene, officials said.

Two possible suspects were detained at the scene and a third possible suspect was among those critically injured and taken to a hospital, according to the sheriff's office.

The investigation is ongoing.

PHOTO: At least two people were killed in a shooting near a flea market in north Harris County, according to the Sheriff's Office in Harris County, Texas, May 15, 2022.
At least two people were killed in a shooting near a flea market in north Harris County, according to the Sheriff's Office in Harris County, Texas, May 15, 2022.
KTRK

One man who was uninjured was arrested for his alleged role in the shooting and charged with tampering with evidence, the sheriff's office said. He was identified by the sheriff's office as 27-year-old Angel Flores-Lopez.

Sheriff's office investigators are combing over video and interviewing witnesses in an effort to identify the shooters, and determine what prompted the fight and shooting.

Family members of one of the men killed identified him as Juan Romero, 29, according to Houston ABC station KTRK.

Romero's sister, Yeraldi Romero, told KTRK that her brother went to the flea market to enjoy his Sunday, like any other weekend. She said her brother was with their cousin, who was one of those wounded and hospitalized.

"This tragedy happened and I don't know why," Yeraldi Romero said. "He always made everyone laugh, very happy, joyful, so it just really hurts because he's my older brother and I look up to him. It's very hard."

ABC News' Nicholas Kerr contributed to this report.

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