A Texas college student was fatally injured when gunshots were fired at a party last month following a disagreement over the rules of beer pong.
Lacie LaRose, 19, was attending a party to celebrate other students graduating and watch a pay-per-view boxing match. Between 100 and 120 attended, according to a witness who spoke to The Eagle.
Ronald McNeil, 39, lived across the street from the party and is accused of firing the shot that hit Lacie, as well as 14 others. Two other guests suffered minor injuries.
“It was a little strange that they were at the party,” Landon Duke, 23, said of McNeil and his two friends, who turned up uninvited. “(B)ut they were really nice, at first, congratulating me on graduating.”
After the boxing match, one of McNeil’s friends got into an argument with a college student about the rules of beer pong. When things got heated, Duke and some friends escorted McNeil and his companions out, Duke said. In the course of this, a few punches were thrown.
McNeil alleged to investigators that racial slurs were shouted at him and his friends, but Duke did not recall this.
“We're a bunch of college kids. We didn't think anything was really going to happen,” Duke said in a phone interview with The Eagle. “Just to be safe, we closed the garage door anyway.”
McNeil told authorities he went to his house and retrieved his gun, before returning to the back garden and firing repeatedly. McNeil claimed the gun went off by accident, and that he was only trying to scare the kids.
The result was LaRose being fatally hit in the neck. Immediately afterwards, witnesses recall hearing her say, “Call 911, I can’t breathe,” according to Daily Mail.
“Every morning I wake up thinking this is a nightmare,” April LaRose, Lacie’s mother, told the Eagle.
Jacee Wren, a close friend, has started making bracelets to raise money for a fund set up in honor of Lacie to help support animals.
“She was really down-to-earth. She never made me feel like the odd person out,” Wren commented.
“One of the things that attracted me to her is she was always happy,” Duke added. “She would always have a smile.”
McNeil is being held on a bond of $500,000 and is charged with murder, two counts of assault and dangerous behavior by discharging a firearm.