'Project X' Parties: Houston Student Dies After Copycat Event
A spring break party inspired by the over-the-top one thrown in the movie "Project X" has resulted in the death of a Houston teenager.
GMA is reporting that several people fired guns, killing one person as police tried to break up the party. The unidentified male victim suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at a nearby Hospital, police told ABCNews.com.
A string of copycat parties inspired by the out-of-control rave in "Project X" have caused over $100,000 in real damage and a handfuls of arrests, but this is the first that turned deadly.
Between 500 and 1,000 people attended the Houston house party, which was advertised on Facebook, Twitter and flyers that offered free admission to women in bikinis. Around midnight, police responded to a noise disturbance at the home and shut down the party. Daniel Menjivara, a 22-year-old college student, told ABCNews that he was one of the few people over 21 at the party.
"Kids took to the streets, but the parking lot was overpacked so you couldn't get out," Menjivar said. "It was just people in the actual street. They got into arguments and started shooting each other."
Willie Armstrong told ABC affiliate KTRK he witnessed the shooting. "[The gunman] was just walking, and he pulled out a gun and started shooting, like for no reason. He shot the boy in the back of the head and fell on the ground. He started shooting at the crowds, but then he ran through the field."
Police gave chase but haven't yet caught the shooting suspect, although there may be more than one. "It appears several people discharged weapons at the scene," the Houston Police Department said in a statement.
There have been other instances of "Project X"-inspired parties around the country, and a previous Houston "Project X" party resulted in the trashing of a new 4,000-square-foot home. Thirteen teenagers were arrested when they attempted to throw a second party in another vacant home.
"I asked some of the kids why, and they said 'Project X.' And I said, 'O.K., what's 'Project X'?'" Mark Stephens, a private investigator working for the home builder told ABC affiliate WFAA. "When you look at the movie, and you look at what happened here, the parallels are uncanny. It was a copycat. They did everything that I saw in the movie."
That's probably not the effect "Project X" screenwriter Michael Bacall was hoping for. As he told GQ.com, the movie is meant for theatrical enjoyment only.
"I think it's a blast, and when I've seen the movie, whether it's with a test audience or a just kind of cruising in last Friday night, what's important to me is the people in the theater are having a really good time, and it felt a little bit more like going to a party instead of going to a movie, and I think that was our goal. I understand if people are flipped out over certain things in the movie, but I think at the end of the day, it's just a blast to see it with an audience and that's pretty gratifying."