An argument between a neighbor and partygoers at a residence in south College Station early Sunday escalated into a shooting that took the life of a 19-year-old woman and left two men injured.
College Station police weren't releasing many details Sunday afternoon, more than 12 hours after Lacie LaRose of Irving was shot at a home in the 900 block of San Benito Drive -- about a mile southeast of A&M Consolidated High School.
According to a police statement, investigators believe Ronald Wayne McNeil, 39, of College Station and some friends went to a party at a neighbor's home when an argument began. Police said the argument became physical and, about 3:06 a.m., McNeil pulled out a handgun and started shooting into a group at the party.
Assistant Police Chief Chuck Fleeger declined to comment on where in the home the shooting took place, as well as what type of handgun was used.
"Because of the evidential nature of these details, I cannot comment at this time because of the ongoing investigation," Fleeger said.
Jacee Wren, a friend of LaRose's who was not at the party but had spoken to the host, said there was a graduation party going on Saturday night and some of her friends were going to watch the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao boxing match at the house on San Benito Drive. Wren was told by the host that his neighbor, McNeil, and his friends were asked to leave after some rude comments. According to the host, the men left after a brief physical altercation and the party continued.
Wren said it was hours later that McNeil returned, pushing through some people in the backyard, walking through the back door and firing 15 times into a crowd of people in the house; LaRose was the first one to be shot, according to what the host told Wren.
"Thank God he wasn't a better shot. Who knows how many victims there could have been," Wren said.
Fleeger said a College Station police officer was at the corner of San Benito Drive and Pedernales Drive when he heard gunfire and responded to a residence, arriving in time to see McNeil and one of his acquaintances running from the home and getting into separate vehicles. The officer gave a dispatcher the vehicle information, and McNeil was detained as he was trying to leave the neighborhood in a pickup, Fleeger said. The acquaintance was arrested a short time later by another officer.
"Obviously, the officer's quick and decisive actions in relaying the vehicle descriptions were critical in this case," Fleeger said.
McNeil's acquaintance has not been charged with any crime and is cooperating with the investigation, Fleeger said.
McNeil remained in jail late Sunday and was waiting for a bail hearing. He is charged with murder, deadly conduct and two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If convicted of the murder charge, he could face life in prison.
After the shooting, LaRose was taken to the College Station Medical Center, where she died at 4:55 a.m. The two men injured in the shooting -- a 29-year-old from San Antonio with bullet shrapnel in his arm and a 23-year-old Bryan man with a gunshot wound to the leg -- were treated at St. Joseph hospital in Bryan and released Sunday.
Wren said LaRose moved from Irving to College Station in August and was a freshman at Blinn College. LaRose was a nice girl who loved animals, she said.
"She wanted to apply to the Texas A&M vet school. Her passion was animals," Wren said Sunday evening after spending a few hours with LaRose's parents.
Wren said LaRose's parents told her their daughter -- their only child -- was originally planning to attend school in Arkansas.
"They felt College Station was a safer environment. They're devastated now because they thought this was the safest place for her," Wren said.