An event at Texas Southern University in Houston that was billed as “a family block party” featuring Houston rapper Trae Tha Truth ended in violence on Wednesday night when a drive-by shooting erupted, injuring six people.
According to the Houston Chronicle, no one was seriously wounded in the incident, which occurred before 9 p.m. TSU spokesperson Eva Pickens told the paper that an unmarked car pulled up to the campus’ parking lot and began to shoot wildly into the crowd, striking some of the partygoers including a male TSU student and a 60-year-old man. The community-sponsored event gave away school supplies for children, offered train and pony rides, enforced voter registration and provided immunizations and HIV testing.
“The event was something that was very meaningful, very positive” Trae told MTV News. “You have a lot of people who could never pull this off. This was the best event of the year, then we go through what we went through at night when the event is over. No positive light was shed that a couple thousand kids got immunization shots. Families got free backpacks for their children. Nobody sees the positive stuff.”
According to Trae’s publicist, Nancy Byron, Trae and his entourage had already left when the shooting began.
“Tragically, a community-driven event that took the collaboration of so many people, and personally cost Trae thousands of dollars to put together, was spoiled by one rotten apple,” said a statement sent to MTV News. “We are truly saddened by the fact that despite thousands of children receiving free immunizations and school supplies, and everyone from government officials to senior citizens thoroughly enjoying the day, which drew an estimated 10,000 people, what will be remembered is this one violent act. … Despite everything, we hope that Trae’s efforts to reach out to and give back to those in the community whose needs are often not addressed will continue to be recognized and supported.”
Bun B and Rick Ross were both at the event — which was also meant to honor Trae’s work with at-risk youth in Houston — and Ross performed. Prior to the shooting, Houston City Councilman Peter Brown made an appearance before the crowd.
TSU officials said local police are investigating the shooting and believe the event may have been spurred by an ongoing rivalry between two of the city’s local gangs from Fresno and Missouri City, a suburb southwest of Houston, CNN reported.
On Houston’s 97.9 Thursday morning (July 23), Trae questioned whether the shooting was really gang-related and labeled the shooter a “coward.”