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Police say suspect fought victim over marijuana stash in prom afterparty shooting

Posted at 9:23 PM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 22:23:20-04

MILANO, Texas — The suspected aggressor and accomplice in a Sunday morning shooting out of Milano have both been arrested and charged. One victim of the shooting remains in the ICU.

It all started at a Milano High School prom after-party, in a rural home off U.S. Highway 79. Teenagers from Milano and Rockdale High Schools gathered together and enjoyed some alcohol, provided by one of the guests. The property owners slept, unaware of the party.

"There were people inside the residence, and then there was a patio outside, and a small grassy area where the shooting took place.," said Dep. Bill Behler, an investigator with the Milam County Sheriff’s Office

Behler relayed that College Station resident, 18-year-old Zain Taylor, was accompanied Saturday night by his friend from Oklahoma, 17-year-old Kelvin Ortega. The young men were not closely connected to party guests but traveled in from south College Station anyway.

“They explained to us that the kids of today look at Snapchat, see where the party is, and they just all show up," Behler commented. "If it’s posted on Snapchat, that’s considered an invitation.”

The teens headed to Milano, according to police, and Ortega allegedly carried a backpack filled with marijuana. At the party, witnesses told police the drugs were sold and distributed. The initial investigation leads detectives to believe that one 17-year-old party guest tried to take hold of the backpack. That’s when Ortega fired a gun.

"The [primary] victim, who is at Temple Scott & White, is having a second surgery today in his abdomen," Behler said. "... He was shot in the abdomen, back and the leg... a total of four shots."

The shots also hit a 14-year-old in the leg. As first responders were called to the scene, Behler said Taylor helped his friend Ortega flee to Franklin, where police eventually caught the suspects and located a backpack containing marijuana.

"We have not recovered any firearms," Behler noted. "During our interview with the suspects, they did not recall what they did with the firearm."

Both suspects have been charged with two counts of aggravated assault. The 17-year-old victim has remained in the ICU in stable condition, while the 14-year-old's leg wound is being treated.

Police need help in gathering more details about this incident. If you wish to submit a tip anonymously, contact Milam County Crime Stoppers at 888-697-TIPS.