Relative: Dead girl knew homeowner who shot and killed her

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It was normal for Julio Lopez to venture to his friend’s house across the street, and on Wednesday evening, he went over and played a video game with him until around 11 p.m.

A few hours later, a teen, who was identified by her aunt as 14-year-old Layla Ramos, was found early Thursday fatally shot in an Atascocita-area house after the unidentified homeowner said he fired in self-defense.

“He was always really cool,” said Lopez, 17, about the homeowner, whom he has known since he was a young boy. “That’s why something like this is kind of weird. That just doesn’t make any sense. I don’t get why he would do that.”

Ramos apparently entered the house on River Brook near Fawn Trail Lane before 5:15 a.m., said Deputy Thomas Gilliland with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

When the owner of the residence – a 43-year-old man – heard the female intruder coming into his house, he called 911. The homeowner was armed with a gun. Fearing that his house was being burglarized, he fired at the teenager, hitting her at least once, Gilliland said.

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The homeowner’s name was not immediately released. He is cooperating with authorities and is being questioned by the sheriff’s office, Gilliland said.

Deputies recovered the homeowner’s gun at the house. It was not immediately clear whether the home had been broken in to or whether a door or window had been left open, Gilliland said.

Carmalita Lugo is heartbroken over the death of her niece, whom she described as a “beautiful dimpled girl.” She said that Ramos lived with her at one point.

Lugo said that Ramos had been released a few weeks ago from rehab for depression.

She said that Ramos knew the homeowner because she was friends with his 17-year-old daughter. The homeowner apparently picked Ramos up from her mother’s house Wednesday night, said the aunt, adding details to the still unfolding story.

She doesn’t understand why the police are reporting the incident as a home invasion, when she knew the homeowner.

“How did she get shot breaking in when she left with him?” Lugo said.

Lopez said the 14-year-old used to live in the neighborhood with her mother until the family moved away, but she would often visit the house on River Brook Lane and even stayed there for a period of time. Lopez said that the girl liked to hang out with an older crowd. He also heard rumors that she had just gotten out of rehab.

Lopez did not see Ramos when he was at the house on Wednesday night when he was playing video games with the homeowner’s son. He said he’s close with the family and nearly every day goes to the house.

He thought it was odd in the morning when he heard reports that Ramos was visiting the house because the homeowner’s daughter is out of town.

“Why would she be there?” asked Lopez.

On Thursday evening, the street was quiet as some cars drove by and stopped to look at the house where the girl was found. A small group of neighbors gathered on a driveway and talked about what happened on their street.

“Nothing like this really ever happens,” Lopez said. “It’s kind out of the ordinary.”

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