Mariah Boulden's party on Saturday night started like many others: there were about 100 people gathered in her home, mostly young adults and teenagers, to celebrate her 18th birthday.
But the party quickly turned deadly after gunfire erupted, killing two people and wounding at least 22 others, the Houston Chronicle reports.
The shots triggered a frantic rush to escape. Many pushed their way through the front doors; others jumped from second-floor windows to flee the suburban home in Cypress.
One man and a woman died — one at the scene and the other at a hospital. Officials have not release their ages or identities.
A 19-year-old Cypress Springs graduate named A. Henry told the Houston Chronicle "it sounded like a balloon popping."
Partygoers got quiet, he said. Then the gunfire returned.
Henry said he heard between 10 and 12 shots fired, but was not sure of the exact number due to the chaos of the situation. The shooting seemed to last between three to five minutes, he told the newspaper. The Houston Chronicle reports:
At one point, he [Henry} was trying to move people toward the garage to help them and himself out. He saw two people on the floor, bleeding.
Uncertainty crossed his mind.
"I hope I make it out alive," he recalled thinking.
Shaniqua Brown, a girl who attended the party, said it "was not rowdy at all," before the shooting. People were dancing when they heard the gunfire.
Sheriff's spokesman Thomas Gilliland said Sunday that deputies were confronted with "mass chaos" when they responded to the call. The "kids were literally everywhere," he said.
Karen Briones was visiting relatives in Cypress, which is about 25 miles northwest of downtown Houston.
"Girls were crying and screaming, banging on people's doors asking them for help and to call 911," she told the newspaper.
Boulden said that the shooters weren't "supposed to be here, whoever they was."
Mariah Boulden said her brother and others were patting down people as they entered their home. Two men refused to be searched and walked away. Apparently they hopped a neighbor's fence and entered through a back gate.