Two cheerleaders shot after one gets in wrong car

time:2023-06-04 12:40:41source:NBC News author:Press center4

Two high school cheerleaders were shot after one of them mistakenly tried to enter the wrong vehicle in a car park near Austin, Texas.

One of the athletes, Payton Washington, 18, was seriously injured and is in hospital. The other victim was treated at the scene.

Multiple shots were fired in the incident which happened at 00:15 local time (05:15 GMT) on Tuesday.

Police later charged Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr, 25, with deadly conduct.

That charge is most often applied when weapons are used recklessly and someone's life is put at risk. In this case it is a third-degree felony which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.

The shooting happened outside a supermarket in Elgin, which is about 25 miles (40km) east of Austin. The car park is often used as a pickup spot for members of the Woodlands Elite Cheer corporation.

Cheerleader Heather Roth said she got out of her friend's car to get into her own vehicle, but mistakenly picked the wrong car.

There was a man in the passenger seat, so she retreated back to her friend's vehicle.

"I see the guy get out of the passenger door. And I rolled my window down, and I was trying to apologise to him... and he just threw his hands up and he pulled out a gun and he just starting shooting at all of us," she said.

Ms Roth was grazed by a bullet but was not badly injured. Ms Washington suffered more serious injuries - the owner of the cheerleading team said her spleen ruptured and her pancreas and diaphragm were damaged.

The girl's father, Keylon Washington, later told NBC News that she was in a stable but critical condition in hospital and doctors had removed her spleen.

Members of Ms Washington's cheerleading squad held a prayer vigil on Tuesday night.

The team is preparing to compete at the Cheerleading Worlds in Orlando, Florida, over the weekend without their teammate.

The team organised a GoFundMe page for Ms Washington's medical expenses. The fundraiser says she was "shot twice and badly injured".

The suspect was arrested after his vehicle licence plate number was traced. A convenience store manager also witnessed the shooting, according to court documents.

The incident is the latest in a string of shootings this week involving young Americans who are reported to have mistakenly approached the wrong person or home.

In New York state, 20-year-old Kaylin Gillis was shot and killed on Saturday after a friend drove down the wrong driveway. And last Thursday in Missouri, 16-year-old Ralph Yarl was shot in the head and arm when he rang the doorbell at the wrong address.

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