Payton Washington: Texas cheerleader shot after teammate 'tries to enter wrong car' by mistake
EGLIN, TEXAS: Two cheerleaders from Texas were shot and wounded while they were on their way home from practice on Tuesday, April 18, after one of them reportedly tried to get into a wrong car by mistake. Payton Washington, a high school senior on the cheer squad, was taken to a hospital after Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr, 25, allegedly shot multiple times at the car she was in just after midnight following an altercation, according to Elgin police.
Owner of Woodlands Elite Cheer Lynne Shearer told KHOU that four of her gym's cheerleaders were involved in an altercation with the alleged shooter while they were carpooling from the Woodlands area to their meeting place in Elgin, which is 30 minutes from Austin. This shooting comes just a couple of days after Kaylin Gillis, 20, and Ralph Yarl, 16, were shot after they mistakenly went to the wrong homes. Gillis died while Yarl is still recovering in a hospital after being shot in the head.
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What happened to Payton Washington?
Bastrop County sources said that cheerleader Heather Roth mistakenly tried to get into the wrong car thinking it was her own. Rodriguez was seated in the passenger seat of that car. Roth panicked on seeing him and went to her friend's car. When the shooter approached the vehicle she apologized after rolling down the windows, but the man threw up his hands, pulled out a gun and started shooting at them, per ABC 13.
Washington was shot in the back and on the leg while a bullet grazed Roth. "Payton opens the door, and she starts throwing up blood," Roth said. She was treated right there and released while Washington had to be flown to a hospital in critical condition.
A manager at the H-E-B supermarket chain witnessed the suspect "shoot at the vehicle multiple times" before fleeing, according to an affidavit obtained by ABC 13. The shots fired in the parking lot have been purportedly captured on surveillance video, which has not yet been made available to the public. Rodriguez was reportedly arrested and charged with deadly conduct and a third-degree felony. "It was a harrowing night for all four of those girls," Shearer told Fox 7.
Who is Payton Washington?
Washington is a competitive athlete, according to the cheer coach, and she will fully recover from her wounds. "She literally was born with one lung, so she from the very beginning as a baby, she wasn’t even expected to survive, let alone, excel in athletics, so she’s surpassed a lot of things already," Shearer reportedly said, adding, "She’s literally an icon in the world of all-star cheerleader. I mean, definitely at our gym, but literally all around the country she has so many little kids look up to her."
Washington won't be able to participate in April's Allstar Cheerleader World Championship. After high school, she reportedly won a scholarship to train with the Baylor University tumble and acrobatics team. A GoFundMe has been established for Washington to support her family with medical expenses.