Four shot dead at one-year-old’s birthday party in Texas

By Bernie Woodall

(Reuters) – Four men were shot and killed following a fight between two families at a birthday party for a 1-year-old in Texas, state officials said.

A 37-year-old man is suspected of shooting five men with a handgun early Saturday evening in the backyard of a home in the small town of Taft, north of Corpus Christi, said Sgt. Nathan Brandley of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Police were searching on Sunday for the suspected gunman, Ronnie Rodriguez Sr., and have also arrested his son, Ronnie Rodriguez Jr., 20, in connection with the shooting, Brandley said.

It was not clear whether any children were in the backyard at the time, Brandley said, but preliminary information was that most of them were inside the home. He did not say how many children attended the party.

The fifth man who was shot was taken by helicopter to a Corpus Christi hospital where he was listed on Sunday in critical but stable condition, Brandley said.

Brandley gave no motive for the shootings other than to say there was an altercation between members of two families.

The Texas Rangers, a unit of the Texas Department of Public Safety, was leading the investigation.

Taft is 12 miles north of Corpus Christi, Texas.

On June 30 in Idaho, nine people were wounded at a 3-year-old’s birthday party by a man who went on a stabbing spree. Media reported that the child later died.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Andrea Ricci)