Two cheerleaders in Texas have been shot following a horrific turn of events after they mistakenly went to the wrong car in a parking lot.
Woodlands Elite cheer team members Heather Roth and Payton Washington were at an H-E-B supermarket near Austin on Tuesday with two other girls as they’d just gotten home from cheer practice. Each week the four of them make a 360-mile round trip three times from the Texas capital to Houston, and they usually use the grocery store’s parking lot so they can all hop in one vehicle. Just after midnight, a tired Roth made her way to a car she believed to be her own in the parking lot so she could go home. Upon opening the door, she noticed a man in the passenger seat, and initially she panicked thinking someone had broken into her car, so she got back in her friend’s car.
It’s something that’s happened to all of us — it’s easy, especially when it’s late and you’re tired, to mistake a car that looks like yours as your own. Just an honest mistake, but sadly this would turn into a bloodbath for these young women…
According to ABC 13, the man exited the passenger side of the vehicle and walked up to where the girls were parked. Roth reportedly rolled down the window to apologize and explain the situation, but would never have the opportunity to do so as he allegedly pulled out a gun and “started shooting.”
Roth was grazed by a bullet but treated and released at the scene, according to CNN, but Washington wasn’t as lucky. She was struck in the leg and back, being left in critical condition as she was rushed to the ICU. She’s reportedly “doing well” but suffered a ruptured spleen as well as complications with her pancreas and diaphragm. According to cheer manager Lynne Shearer, Washington already was competing on the team with one lung. Luckily the ICU was able to get her in stable condition and now she’s on the road to recovery:
“Her stomach is not closed up yet and they are keeping her on heavy antibiotics for at least 48 hours to hopefully fight off infection. Once they are sure there is no infection, they will go back in and finish up any issues and close her up.”
Just awful! All because someone accidentally opened a car door!
This is at least the third story within a week of young adults and teens being shot at for making simple, everyday mistakes. And yet right-wingers are still arguing that guns aren’t a problem!
The H-E-B manager was able to see the incident go down and capture it on CCTV, so the police were able to quickly name and arrest a suspect. Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr., 25, was arrested this week and was booked on charges of deadly conduct — although it’s reported those charges are likely to increase.
Roth and her other teammates plan to continue to compete in an upcoming match in Orlando, according to Shearer:
“It’s the only title (Washington) hasn’t won in All-Star Cheer. She’s literally won everything there is to win in this sport except for a world title, and this was her last chance to do that. Payton is the ultimate competitor. She would not want her team not to go and not be at this championship and not compete. So we will be there, and we will compete.”
An absolutely senseless crime has taken away this girl’s final opportunity at something she’s worked so hard for! So, so sad.
Our hearts go out to Heather, Payton, and the rest of the cheer team’s family and loved ones. We hope they get the justice they deserve.