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12-year-old girl shot while protected siblings at Houston apartment identified

October 9, 2018

The heroic girl shot while protecting her siblings from a pistol-toting man outside her northwest Houston apartment has been identified as Adriana Ruiz, police said Monday.

One of the four bullets fired at her apartment struck 12-year-old Adriana in the stomach as she ushered her younger siblings to a backroom Friday night in the 8400 block of Hammerly Boulevard.

The children were home alone when two men came to the door looking for her mother’s roommate, Houston police said last week. The girl refused to open the door.

A man who answered the door at the second-floor unit Monday afternoon declined to comment, other than to say Adriana is doing OK after undergoing surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.

He said she and her family moved after the shooting.

A neighbor who lives downstairs from where the girl was shot said her mother was too scared to keep her children at their Spring Branch East apartment, which now has at least two bullet holes in the windows. The family packed up for Katy, said the neighbor, Veronica Hernandez.

Hernandez said she was in her living room when she heard the gunfire outside her apartment. She grabbed her 16-year-old son, who failed to hear the gunshots over his headphones, and ordered him to hide in her room.

“He said, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ He’s 16,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez peeked out the window and “expected to see someone laying there,” she recalled. “I cracked the door open and I didn’t see anyone.”

She never heard Adriana or the other children cry out at the upstairs apartment.

“There was no fighting or yelling,” Hernandez said.

Police and witnesses said they saw a red car speeding away from the apartment complex.

After the shooting, police told reporters the mother’s roommate was tasked with caring for the four children. She was at a nearby laundry room at the apartment complex when the girl was shot.

During a press conference, Houston police Assistant Chief Bill Dobbins lauded Adriana for protecting the other children, whose ages ranged from 4 to 10.

“She did the right thing,” Dobbins said of the girl.

nicole.hensley@chron.com

@nkhensley

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