Family of 18-year-old woman killed at NYE party waits for justice

A GoFundMe account has been created to cover funeral expenses for the woman killed at a New Year’s Eve party in Fort Worth.
A GoFundMe account has been created to cover funeral expenses for the woman killed at a New Year’s Eve party in Fort Worth.

Tamara Augustus loved to sing and dance.

Sometimes in the middle of conversations with her sisters, she’d break out in movement, one sister told the Star-Telegram. She was goofy. She wanted people around her to smile and be happy.

That’s probably how she’ll be remembered by most people, the sister said.

Augustus, 18, was killed when gunfire broke out at a New Year’s Eve warehouse party that she helped promote. Fort Worth police have said about 100 people were at the party, and a fight flared up between at least two people. The gunshots rang out between the parking lot and warehouse.

Augustus was caught in the middle when she was exiting the warehouse, her sister Megan Augustus has been told.

Now, Augustus’ family wants justice.

“I want the people who did this to realize what they’ve done and how much of a beautiful spirit they took from us,” Megan Augustus said.

As she spoke about her sister’s life on Thursday, Megan Augustus held back tears.

But at times she had to laugh.

“Tamara was always so happy,” she said. “She always tried to make people happy. She was a very goofy, loving person. She was kindhearted. She just brought a spark everywhere she went. Sometimes we could just be sitting there talking and she’d just start dancing. I think that’s something everyone could agree on. She loved to dance.”

Augustus was a mom to a 3-year-old boy named Xavier. At a candlelight vigil in Arizona on Wednesday, he pointed to pictures of her and said “mom.”

“He doesn’t fully understand it,” Megan said.

Augustus was born in California and grew up in Arizona. She was surrounded by her mother and a handful of siblings — Stephanie, Jasmine, Alexis, Megan and Phillip. She was the youngest of the girls.

It was tough on her to be away from extended family, Megan said, but she tried to have the best outlook on their situation.

“I tried to teach her to stay positive, even if we weren’t always given the best, she made something out of it,” Megan said.

Augustus moved to Fort Worth less than a month ago to be with a close friend.

“They were basically like sisters,” Megan said. “She was going to get her life together. She just turned 18 (in November). She wanted to get a good job. She saw that her friend was doing good in Texas and wanted the same.”

Even though she wasn’t in Texas long, Augustus left a huge mark on those she met.

“There are so many people messaging us saying, ‘We want to help out,’” Megan said, crying. “It makes me really happy to know that my sister touched so many people. In this short amount of time, she brought so much life to people.”

Augustus was well-known on social media by her nickname Icyy Ranae. She had a YouTube channel and was followed by more than 54,000 people on Instagram and more than 21,000 people on Facebook.

A cousin of Augustus’, Marissa Carter, created a GoFundMe account to help her family get her back to Arizona.

“I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone else,” Megan said. “I can’t say ‘Happy New Year.’ I haven’t said it because it’s not happy. I posted on Facebook about how 2018 was a great year and I was excited about 2019 and an hour later I got the news and I just feel like I jinxed myself.”

Just after midnight, Megan called her sister. When she didn’t answer, she texted her. When she didn’t answer that, she called again.

“Her friends called and told us,” she said.

Detectives are still investigating the shooting and no arrests have been made. Fort Worth Police Officer Buddy Calzada said there were private, non-uniformed security personnel at the party who were provided by the promoter of the event. He didn’t know how many security officers were present.

Calls, emails and messages to the owners of the warehouse, CMH Entertainment, have not been returned. The building, at 3220 S. Jones St., is listed in city records as a dance hall. CMH Events received a certificate of occupancy for the facility April 10, according to records.

The facility does not have a license to serve or sell alcohol, according to Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission records. There is no indication the facility provided alcoholic beverages to partygoers.

Reporter Mitch Mitchell contributed to this report.

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.