2 Texas teens shot after mistakenly entering wrong car in parking lot
Two Texas cheerleaders were shot after one of them mistakenly got into the wrong vehicle in a parking lot after practice, officials said.
Elgin Police said officers responded to reports of a shooting outside an H-E-B supermarket early Tuesday. Officers found two victims with gunshot wounds. One of the victims was treated and released at the scene, the other was taken by helicopter to a hospital in critical condition, according to Elgin police.
A suspect identified as Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr., 25, was arrested and charged with deadly conduct, a third-degree felony, police said.
Lynne Shearer, the owner of Woodlands Elite Cheer, told NBC affiliate KXAN, that four cheerleaders from her gym typically carpooled from Austin to their location for practice. The teens stopped at the H-E-B in Elgin, about 25 miles northeast of Austin, where some of the members had parked their cars.
One of the teens accidentally tried to get into the wrong car, but when she tried to apologize, the man pulled a gun and she backed into her friend’s vehicle, Shearer said.
“And so they tried to speed off and he shot his gun, like five times or so into the car,” Shearer said.
KXAN, citing criminal complaint documents, reported that surveillance video from the shooting scene led police to the suspect.
Shearer identified the critically injured cheerleader as Round Rock Independent School District student Payton Washington.
“She’s won every title there is to win in all-star cheerleading. She’s literally a role model for the kids in this industry throughout the country,” Shearer said. “Everybody knows her. She’s literally one of the very best that’s ever done this sport.”
Washington’s father, Kelan Washington, told NBC News that his daughter was shot in the leg and back. He said doctors removed her spleen and she’s now stable in the ICU at Dell Seton Medical Center at The University of Texas in Austin.
Kelan Washington described the star athlete, born with just one lung, as “tough as they come.”
He said he was baffled by the shooter’s response, telling NBC News, “You watched her walk up to your door on accident — it’s a girl in a cheer outfit.”
The shooter, Rodriguez was being held on a preliminary charge of deadly conduct, a third-degree felony, the police release stated, with more or enhanced charges possible. It was not immediately clear whether he has an attorney.
The supermarket manager witnessed the incident, and police have surveillance footage from the parking lot, could see the license plate on the suspect’s car and later observed him at his home, police said, according to a probable cause affidavit.
“Elgin Detectives contacted Pedro Tello at the residence. Pedro Tello was still wearing the clothing that was observed by Elgin Detectives in the surveillance footage,” the affidavit states.
Four Woodland Elite Cheer Company athletes were “involved in a horrific incident” on their way home from practice Monday night, the cheerleading and tumbling organization said in a Facebook post.
“We are asking for your prayers,” it said.