Mareja Pratt, a sophomore at Elsik High School, had been the target of bullying on Instagram by a woman for months before she was gunned down Monday afternoon, a relative told KTRK-TV.
“She kept picking on [Pratt] on Instagram, sending people pictures saying she was a prostitute,” her cousin Kira Walton said. “Messing with her to the point my cousin used to cry about it.”
Pratt, a 20-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man had gone to confront another group about the posts when gunfire erupted near Wilcrest Drive and Bellaire Boulevard, police said.
A man in a car from the other group fired up to 15 shots and then fled with two other females, KHOU-TV reported.
The teen was pronounced dead at the scene, while the two others in her group were taken to the hospital, police said.
“A very sad time where a 16-year-old female lost her life unnecessarily over something that seems to be pretty trivial, over a social media beef,” Houston Police Commander David Angelo according to KPRC-TV.
No one has been taken into custody in connection with the shooting, the outlets reported.
Walton mourned the loss of her cousin, who she said had “just started life” and “just was happy about going to school.”
“She was just focused. She had her whole life ahead of her,” she told the news station.