2 dead, 3 critically injured in shootout at Texas flea market


Two people were dead and three others were critically injured when a shootout erupted at a Houston-area flea market busy with families on a Sunday afternoon, police said.

The five were part of an altercation at the market that erupted when at least two people involved in the fight pulled out guns and the sound of shots rang out about 1:07 p.m., said Major Susan Cotter of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

She said at an impromptu press conference that two or more of the men in the altercation “exchanged gunfire with each other.”

No bystanders were injured, Cotter said, but two men believed to be connected to the altercation were pronounced dead at the scene and three others were rushed to separate hospitals with critical injuries she said.

Of at least two suspects in the violence, one was among the hospitalized, she said, and the other was detained at the scene.

Police said the shootout happened at a location that correlates to the 35-acre Sunny Flea Market in Harris County north of Houston city limits.

The market did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“The five got into a fight, which ended up in them drawling guns,” Cotter said.

Cotter later indicated the altercation could have involved six or seven people.

The major said bullets were flying as “a lot of people” were shopping and “just trying to enjoy the flea market.”

Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said there may have been thousands of people in and around the market Sunday.

The same street occupied by Sunny Flea Market is home to other flea markets and, about five miles south, to the Houston Farmer’s Market.

The violence was not random, police said.

“It looks like all five of them knew each other,” Cotter said. “It doesn’t appear any innocent bystanders were injured.”

Police have some video of parts of the attack, but they are still searching for footage of the entire altercation, she said.

Witnesses have been hard to find so far. the major said. “Pretty much everybody scattered,” she said.

She described the scene just after the guns cooled as “very fluid, very chaotic.”

Cristian Santana contributed.