Mareja Pratt was a 16-year-old girl who was shot and killed in Houston after a dispute on following months of online bullying, her family said. The Houston Police Department tweeted on Monday, October 26, that officers responded to a shooting on Sharpview Drive where a 16-year-old female was declared dead at the scene and two other victims were “expected to survive.”
Authorities did not publicly identify Pratt as the victim of the shooting but her family identified her in an interview with ABC13. Her mother, Marsha Nutall, told the outlet, “Family was first. She loved her family and that’s gone. They took it away from me. They took that away from me. They took that away from me.”
Pratt was the youngest child in a family of six kids and in her sophomore year at Elsik High School, ABC13 reported.
Pratt Was Meeting Someone About a Social Media Feud After She’d Been Bullied for Months Online, Her Cousin Said
Pratt’s family told media outlets that the 16-year-old was shot and killed on her way to settle a social media dispute. Pratt’s cousin, Kira Walton, said the high school sophomore had been bullied and targeted on Instagram for months before her death, according to ABC13. “She kept picking on her on Instagram, sending people pictures saying she was a prostitute. Messing with her … messing with her to the point my cousin used to cry about it,” Walton said.
According to the family’s interview with the outlet, Pratt, two of her sisters and a male friend walked over to Wilcrest Baptist Church down the road from their house in what they called a “family beef.” The man who drove the other family member involved in the dispute to the church began firing at the group, the outlet reported.
Police told ABC13 that at least 15 shots were fired. Commander David Angelo of the Houston Police Department said, “This appears to involve an ongoing social media beef with our three victims that came to this location to engage the people.”
One of Pratt’s sisters, Prie, said, “I seen him, he stood out the side of the car and he just started shooting. He was short and dark.” Another sister who was there, Dekambrie, told ABC13: “They shot me, but I don’t care. My sister is gone!” The police press release identified Dekambrie Pratt, 20, and the male friend, Anthony Thornabar, 32, as the two other victims of gunshot wounds. Both were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening wounds.
The press release stated that the suspected shooter was in a red Chrysler 200 with three females and took off after the shooting. “Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.”
Pratt Was Focused on School, Her Family Said, & ‘Stood Out When She Walked in the Room’
Pratt’s family described the young girl to ABC13 as someone who loved going to school and was looking forward to eventually going to college. A GoFundMe was created by Pratt’s family to raise money for funeral expenses. Pratt’s brother, the organizer, wrote:
My little sister was only 16 she had so much life! She was in her books & focused on school. She was only a sophomore. Everyone loved her she always kept a smile on her face & everyone happy… She stood out when she walked in the room! I’m speechless to say that my little sister is gone. Nothing I can do or say will bring her back. Me & her were the youngest and we we’re always together with our parents.