Houston News & Search
Photo: Yi-Chin Lee / Houston Chronicle, Yi-Chin Lee
A former “America’s Next Top Model” contestant was among the four wounded in a Sunday night shooting that left two dead in northern Harris County, a family member confirmed Monday.
Brandy Rusher, 32, was rushed to the hospital after an unidentified suspect fired off 15 to 18 shots at the Haverstock Hill apartments on Aldine Bender.
Christopher Beatty was slain in the gunfire and a 31-year-old man – whose name was not immediately released – died at the scene, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
The chaos kicked off around 6:30 p.m., after a call for a neighbor disturbance. Witnesses later told sheriff’s deputies that three people had pulled up to the complex in a white four-door car. Two men got out and started arguing with the victims and eventually one suspect grabbed a semi-automatic rifle from the trunk and opened fire, deputies said.
All three men hopped in the car and fled the scene in an unknown direction, leaving fear and chaos in their wake.
“People were running everywhere,” said Deputy Thomas Gilliland. A sheriff’s office official later added that is an ongoing investigation and authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the violence could be gang-related.
Rusher was on the reality show in the mid-2000s, but has since lived an apparently quiet life in the Houston area, outside the limelight.
“She’s exactly what you would expect from a fun-loving person. Her smile was always infectious,” long-time friend Peter Dutton told the Chronicle. “She always looked for a good time.”
The 29-year-old, who knew Rusher from their years together at Booker T. Washington High School, said it was a victory for the whole school when one of their former students made it on the show.
“It’s almost like a ‘We made it’ type thing,'” he said.
Dutton described Rusher’s family as close and said the news surprised him.
“The first thing I did was just stop and just pray for the family, because I know that they are a big and close-knit family,” he said.
Representatives for VH1, which now airs the modeling show, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
As Rusher’s friends offered well-wishing posts online, Beatty’s took to Facebook to mourn.
“I don’t want to believe it but you in a better place RIP,” wrote one friend.
“Another honestly good man gone too soon,” wrote another.
On Monday, a GoFundMe campaign sprang up to cover funeral costs.
“As you know a beautiful soul was taken from us so suddenly,” the page notes.
“Please help us raise money for his final farewell during this painful time as we grieve.”
Houston News & Search