Woman’s death by stray bullet authorities say Texas neighbor fired called ‘senseless crime’

May 11, 2023, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:58 pm

HOUSTON (AP) — The death of a woman, who authorities say was sleeping in her suburban Houston apartment when she was killed by a stray bullet fired by a neighbor shooting at people breaking into vehicles, was called a “senseless crime” by her family Thursday.

Authorities said Bethany Mefford’s boyfriend found her unresponsive in their bed at around 6 a.m. Wednesday. Investigators allege that Mefford, 29, had been shot in the head by a bullet that had been fired hours earlier by Darius Lewis. He lived in a nearby building in the same apartment complex in the Houston suburb of Humble, said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

“It is a horrible thing to have happened to someone that’s laying in their bed, not causing anybody any problems because Bethany never would,” said Lana Higinbotham, Mefford’s aunt. “And to just be taken in your sleep, taken away from your family that loves you more than life, it’s a senseless crime.”

At around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, Lewis saw several people breaking into various vehicles at the complex and fired his gun at them, Gonzalez said.

Lewis told officers he fired once into the ground to get the car thieves away from his vehicle. When they “were not moving fast enough for him,” he fired more times into the ground, according to a probable cause affidavit read at a court hearing early Thursday morning.

Prosecutors allege Lewis also fired across a parking lot at the complex and that the bullet went through the wall of Mefford’s apartment, killing her. Lewis has been charged with manslaughter.

Court records did not list an attorney for Lewis, 28, who could speak on his behalf. He was set to have another court appearance Friday.

Higinbotham said Mefford was a mother of three young boys who was originally from southwestern Pennsylvania and had moved to the Houston area several years ago. She had come with her mother and stepfather, who had both received job transfers to Texas, and had just recently been hired by the same oil drilling company where her mother worked.

“It was a great opportunity for them,” Higinbotham said about the family moving to Texas. “They took it with open arms. As for now it’s been wonderful, until this.”

Gonzalez said Mefford’s death was tragic.

“It’s a heartbreaking situation,” Gonzalez said. “We’ve seen situations where people have fired indiscriminately or just fired at others.”

In February 2022, a a Houston man was charged with murder after authorities accused him of fatally shooting a man who had posed as a parking attendant and scammed him out of $40.

The mass shootings in which 13 people were killed.

In 2021, Texas lawmakers approved legislation allowing people to carry handguns without a license, as well as the background check and training that had gone with it.

Higinbotham said she believes that people “have their right to bear arms” but that her niece’s death has highlighted the need for people to be more responsible with their guns.

“Everybody that I know is very self-conscious and very careful with their weapons,” she said. “I live in Pennsylvania, which is a far cry from Texas. Like it just seems that down there they’re a little less caring as to where they’re pointing or where they’re not even aiming and then just pulling the trigger.”


Follow Juan A. Lozano on Twitter: https://twitter.com/juanlozano70

National News

File - Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the Apple Watch at the Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Aud...

Associated Press

Apple is expected to unveil sleek headset aimed at thrusting the masses into alternate realities

Apple appears poised to unveil a long-rumored headset that will place its users between the virtual and real world, while also testing the technology trendsetter’s ability to popularize new-fangled devices after others failed to capture the public’s imagination. After years of speculation, the stage is set for the widely anticipated announcement to be made Monday […]

6 hours ago

FILE - A person, reflected in glass, walks near the Tropicana Las Vegas on May 16, 2023, in Las Veg...

Associated Press

Las Vegas ballpark pitch revives debate over public funding for sports stadiums

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Gov. Joe Lombardo wants to help build Major League Baseball’s smallest ballpark, arguing that the worst team in baseball can boost Las Vegas, a city striving to call itself a sports mecca. Debate about public funding for private sports clubs has been revived with the Oakland Athletics ballpark proposal. The […]

1 day ago

FILE - Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., speaks at an ...

Associated Press

Carter and the Kings: A friendship and alliance — but after MLK’s assassination

ATLANTA (AP) — The voice of Martin Luther King Sr., a melodic tenor like his slain son, carried across Madison Square Garden, calming the raucous Democrats who had nominated his friend and fellow Georgian for the presidency. “Surely, the Lord sent Jimmy Carter to come on out and bring America back where she belongs,” the […]

1 day ago

Last seasons plant stalks are seen at Seth Jacobs' marijuana planting field at his Slack Hollow far...

Associated Press

Slow start to New York’s legal pot market leaves farmers holding the bag

ARGYLE, N.Y. (AP) — Seth Jacobs has about 100 bins packed with marijuana flower sitting in storage at his upstate New York farm. And that’s a problem. There aren’t enough places to sell it. The 700 pounds (318 kilograms) of pungent flower was harvested last year as part of New York’s first crop of legally […]

1 day ago

FILE - Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions con...

Associated Press

Wisconsin Republicans look for rebound, Democrats stay on offensive as 2024 fights loom

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin once again be a battleground. Democrats, recognizing that four of the past six presidential elections in the state have been decided by less than a percentage point, are trying not to become overconfident in the face of recent gains. They are gathering for their annual state convention starting June 10 […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

Michigan wildfire prompts evacuations, threatens multiple buildings

GRAYLING TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A wildfire in Michigan burned more than 1,000 acres (1.5 square miles) and prompted emergency evacuations and road closures Saturday, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The wildfire located within Grayling Township, about 4 miles (6.4 km) southeast of Grayling, is moving west and southwest and threatens multiple […]

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Men's Health Month...

Men’s Health Month: Why It’s Important to Speak About Your Health

June is Men’s Health Month, with the goal to raise awareness about men’s health and to encourage men to speak about their health.

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Woman’s death by stray bullet authorities say Texas neighbor fired called ‘senseless crime’