Two high school cheerleaders were shot near Austin, Texas, after one of them approached the incorrect vehicle in a parking lot. Family members report that Payton Washington, 18, remains hospitalized in critical condition. The second victim was treated on-site.
Tuesday's murder at 00:15 local time (05:15 GMT) was described as "horrific" by their cheerleading squad. The police charged 25-year-old Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr. with "deadly conduct"
The incident occurred outside of a grocery store in Elgin, approximately 25 miles from Austin. According to Elgin police, there was an altercation in the parking lot during which multiple shots were discharged into a vehicle. Tuesday night, members of The cheerleading ensemble of Ms. Washington held a prayer vigil.
This weekend, the team will compete at the Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando, Florida, without their teammate.
According to local sources, during the ceremony, one of the athletes who was struck by a bullet in the leg described how fast the scene unfolded. Heather Roth, a cheerleader, stated that she exited her friend's automobile in order to enter her own vehicle, but made the incorrect choice. The passenger seat was occupied by a male, so she retreated to her friend's vehicle.
She observed that the gentleman exited the passage entrance, hence, she rolled down her window and apologized to him. Unfortunately, the man simply raised his hands, drew a gun and began firing at them. Roth and Washington were carpooling to a cheerleading facility in Oak Ridge North, a Houston suburb, three times per week from the Austin and Round Rock area.
The cheerleading squad Woodlands Elite Generals has created a GoFundMe page for Ms. Washington's medical expenses. According to the fundraiser, she was shot twice and severely injured. Lynn Shearer, the team's owner, stated that the four females were riding home together after practice when the shooting occurred. She told sources that in addition to the ruptured spleen, Ms. Washington's pancreas and diaphragm were also damaged.
Her father, Keylon Washington, said that the 18-year-old was in stable but critical condition after physicians removed her spleen and transported her by helicopter to a hospital. He said that Payton has accomplished everything she has despite being born with only one lung. Ms. Washington will compete for the acrobatics and tumbling team at Baylor University when she enrolls in the autumn.
Baylor's head coach, Fee Mulkey, urged the community to pray for Ms. Washington and her family as they recover. The suspect was apprehended after the number plate number of his vehicle was traced. According to court documents, a convenience store manager was also present during the attack.
The incident is one of a series of shootings this week involving young Americans who reportedly approached the incorrect individual or residence.
Kaylin Gillis, age 20, was shot and killed in New York state on Saturday after a friend drove down the incorrect driveway. Ralph Yarl, age 16, was shot in the head and arm last Thursday in Missouri after ringing the doorbell at the incorrect address.