Two members of a competitive cheerleading team were shot Tuesday morning after one of the girls mistakenly tried to get into the wrong car after practice.
Police say they have arrested the man who opened fire on a carload of young women in an Elgin, Texas, parking lot just after midnight, KTRK-TV reported. Elgin is 25 miles from Austin, Texas.
Police say Payton Washington was one of two Woodlands Elite cheerleaders hit when someone opened fire near a grocery store outside Austin. One man is in custody. https://t.co/ZXgNzqU1F7— ABC13 Houston (@abc13houston) April 19, 2023
According to police, the young women were leaving practice when the shooting happened.
According to Heather Roth, she got out of one of her friend’s cars and opened the door to a vehicle she believed to be her own.
She said she saw a man in the passenger seat and believed someone had gotten into her car. She said she ran back to her friend’s car and got in.
The man came up to the car, Roth said, so she rolled down the window to explain that she thought the car was hers and to apologize for opening the door. She said the man threw up his hands, pulled out a gun, and started shooting, according to KTRK.
Roth was grazed by a bullet, but her teammate, Payton Washington, was shot in the leg and the back.
“Payton opens the door, and she starts throwing up blood,” Roth said of her teammate.
Washington was flown to a nearby hospital for treatment. She was in critical condition Tuesday night, according to KTRK reported.
According to Lynne Shearer, who owns the Woodlands Elite Cheer Co., the two cheerleaders use her gym to train, KHOU reported. Shearer said four cheerleaders were leaving the gym to head back to their carpool meeting spot when the shooting happened.
Elgin police arrested the alleged gunman, 25-year-old Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr., Tuesday. So far, he has been charged with deadly conduct.
According to KHOU, as police were headed to the scene, they received another call about someone being shot 5 minutes away from the grocery store. That shooting is believed to be connected to the shooting of the cheerleaders.