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Man charged with murder of woman at her 28th birthday party

Man charged with murder of woman at her 28th birthday party

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A man was arrested on a murder charge late Monday after he allegedly shot and killed his girlfriend during her 28th birthday party, authorities said.

Waco police arrested Gertraveon Demar Wilson, 28, after police were called to Trendwood Apartments, 1722 Dallas Circle, at about 10:30 p.m., when gunshots were heard coming from the complex, Waco police Officer Garen Bynum said. Inside a bedroom of one of the apartments, police found the woman, Crystal Richards, with a gunshot wound, Bynum said.

The woman was pronounced dead at the apartment, Bynum said.

According to an arrest affidavit, Wilson shot his girlfriend after the two got into an argument in front of at least one witness. Wilson allegedly shot his girlfriend in the chest, police stated.

Police at the scene said at least 100 people had gathered for the woman's birthday, including family members. Several fights were reported during the gathering, police said.

Additional officers arrived and gathered more information about a possible suspect, Bynum said. Officers then found Wilson in a breezeway at the apartment.

Officers talked to Wilson, then arrested him on a first-degree felony murder charge, Bynum said. He was booked into McLennan County Jail late Monday night and was released Tuesday after posting a $100,000 bond.

Bynum said although an arrest was made, the investigation remains ongoing.

The shooting was likely an isolated incident around a gathering at the apartments on Monday, Bynum said. The shooting was not connected to previous public safety concerns there that police and the city of Waco have been working toward solving over the last year, he said.

Waco police have attempted to carry out enforcement efforts at Trendwood since last summer after a high call volume and complaints from residents raised concerns about ongoing crime in and around the apartment complex.

In November, the city filed a lawsuit against Trendwood Investors LLC to clean up the property at 1700 Dallas Circle and pay penalties of up to $1,000 a day for each violation until it is remedied. The city claimed the East Waco apartments were “unfit for human occupancy” and that the owners failed to correct dozens of code violations city inspectors identified last summer.

Waco Assistant City Attorney David Shaw said the lawsuit remains pending and the city is continuing to work with the property in correcting the habitation issues. Shaw said code enforcement extended deadlines for the complex to compete its work from the end of March to the end of June because of COVID-19 restrictions in the last two months.

Code enforcement officers will reinspect the property in July to verify if all the improvements have been completed to the requirements of the city before moving forward, Shaw said.

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