Houston - Celebratory gunshots fired at a girl's 18th birthday party triggered more gunfire that left two people dead, two critically injured and nearly two dozen injured in a chaotic scene where people jumped from second-floor windows to escape the shooting at a US home, authorities said.
Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia said the gathering on Saturday night drew more than 100 people, most of them 17 to 19-year-old, and became a "birthday party gone wild".
He said it appears partygoers were dancing when someone armed with a pistol shot into the air in celebration. In the ensuing confusion, another person who was armed began firing into the crowd, Garcia said.
Partygoer Shaniqua Brown told The Associated Press it "was not rowdy at all". She said she first heard gunshots in the house, and they continued outside as people fled and sought cover.
Authorities clarified on Sunday that 20 were hurt, with 16 suffering gunshot wounds and four others were injured in the panic to flee.
The two people killed were an 18-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, Garcia said.
Authorities are searching for two gunmen, he said, one who's about 17-years-old and the other believed to be about 22.
"It's a horrible combination of immaturity, access to a firearm, and the inability to control one's self," Garcia said.
Mariah Boulden, who said it was her birthday party, noted that the bouncer patted people down as they entered the home. Two men refused to be searched and walked away, but they apparently hopped a neighbour’s fence and entered through a back gate.
"They wasn't supposed to be here, whoever they was," Boulden said.
Pools of blood were visible outside the Houston home.