PHOENIX - Police say a second teen has died after a drive-by shooting disrupted a birthday party in a Phoenix neighborhood early Sunday morning. Four other people were injured.
Police responded to reports of a shooting near 25th Avenue and Cactus Road around 3:30 a.m. Officers arrived and noticed that people were dispersing from a party where underage drinking is believed to have occurred, Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said.
Witnesses said a car drove past the house when an altercation occurred and the driver began to fire into the crowd, according to police.
Four victims were taken to the hospital in critical condition. An 18-year-old victim was driven to the hospital by friends where he later died from his injuries, Thompson said.
The final victim was in the process of driving himself to the hospital when he was stopped by officers from the Glendale Police Department and transported to the hospital, police said.
Police identified the 18-year-old killed as Jason Jonathan Acosta-Ramos who was celebrating his birthday.
The second victim was identified as 16-year-old Elliseo O. Cantu.
The wounded victims are aged 16, 17, 18 and 21, police said.
Evelyn Ruiz and her brother Ruben were invited by Acosta-Ramos to the birthday party but couldn't go because of work.
"My friends told me as soon as I got off. I couldn't believe it. I had just talked to him by text. He had called me," Evelyn Ruiz said.
Ruiz said Acosta-Ramos had just come back from visiting his mother in Mexico and was looking forward to celebrating his birthday at home.
"He said he was so excited to see me. I just don't believe it. It's hard to imagine him never talking to his mom again or to any of us," Ruiz said.
Outside the house, beer cans and clothing littered the sidewalk. Police said the party was attended widely by minors and believe underage drinking was going on.
One neighbor told ABC15 her and her sister's beds face the window across the street from where the bullets were flying.
"It's scary, you don't know what's going on," 18-year-old Alex Asoto said.
"I'm really scared. I didn't expect that. I'm actually scared to go to parties right now," she added.
Acosta-Ramos' friends are holding a car wash on Monday, April 15 to raise money for his funeral arrangements. The car wash will be held in front of Viva La Raza restaurant near 19th Avenue and Cinnabar at 1 p.m.
Police have very little information regarding the suspect or suspects or the vehicle they used. They are asking anyone with information or know the whereabouts of the suspects to contact the Phoenix Police Department Violent Crimes Bureau at 602-262-6141 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS or 480-TESTIGO for Spanish.