Houston, TX – A 16-year-old girl was gunned down in front of a neighborhood church after she got into a family feud on Instagram.
The incident occurred on Oct. 26 after a fight broke out online between 16-year-old Mareja Pratt and a family member, KTRK reported.
Mareja, a sophomore at Elsik High School, was the youngest of six children.
Her older sister, Prie Pratt, said that her younger sibling was killed because of a long-running family dispute on social media, KTRK reported.
“It was really family beef. We was having words with each other over social media. It’s been going on,” said Prie Pratt.
Mareja’s cousin, Kira Walton, said that some family members had targeted her cousin on Instagram for months, KTRK reported.
“She kept picking on her on Instagram, sending people pictures saying she was a prostitute. Messing with her… messing with her to the point my cousin used to cry about it,” Walton explained.
Family members told KTRK that after the argument broke out on social media, a family member that Mareja was arguing with suggested they meet in person to discuss the matter.
So Mareja, Prie, and their sister, 20-year-old Dekambrie Pratt, walked down the street with a male friend to meet up with the family member in front of Wilcrest Baptist Church located at Sharpview Drive and Wilcrest Road.
Family members told KTRK that they were expecting a fist fight when they got there.
But Prie said that when the family member arrived at the church in a car, the friend who was driving suddenly opened fire on the sisters and their friend who were waiting for them.
“I seen him, he stood out the side of the car and he just started shooting. He was short and dark,” Prie told KTRK.
Mareja was fatally shot and pronounced dead at the scene.
Her older sister, Dekambrie, was also shot but her wound was not life threatening, KTRK reported.
“They shot me, but I don’t care. My sister is gone!” Dekambrie cried.
The 22-year-old male friend who accompanied the sisters to the church also sustained a non-life-threatening gunshot wound, KTRK reported.
Police said the gunman fired 15 shots at the group before he fled the scene in a red Chrysler.
“This appears to involve an ongoing social media beef with our three victims that came to this location to engage the people,” Houston Police Commander David Angelo said, according to KTRK.
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo asked the community for help to identify the 16 year old’s killer.
“Step up on, not just a crime that’s been committed, but any threat to our fellow Houstonians throughout our region,” Chief Acevedo said at a press conference after Mareja was shot.