The two children of mother Rachelle Grimmer have died from gunshot wounds sustained after a seven hour standoff with police at the Laredo Heath and Human Services building in Texas.
According to reports, the Grimmers had applied for assistance multiple times. Neighbor Oscar Luis Cuella told the Laredo Sun, “The children went barefoot to accompany her. They went four times, and four times she was denied. She was desperate, because she had nothing to feed her children.” He and fellow neighbors feel if social services workers
Rachelle Grimmer, 38, confronted employees about a food stamp application that she submitted in July. At one point she pulled out a firearm and demanded to speak to the manager. Police negotiators were brought in to talk to the woman on the phone, but Grimmer repeatedly hung up, according to MSNBC. at around 7 P.M. the manager was allowed to go free while Grimmer and her two children remained inside the government building. Police continued to talk to the woman, but just before midnight Grimmer hung up on negotiators one last time. Three shots were heard from outside and as SWAT stormed the building they found the two injured children and the body of Grimmer.
Daughter Ramie Grimmer updated Facebook from inside the Health and Human Services building, ant one point saying, “may die 2day”.
Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the family services office in Laredo told reporters, “She originally applied for the stamps on July 7. We scheduled an interview by phone with her, but couldn’t reach her after repeated attempts.”
Of the events that unfolded on Monday, Goodman said of her staff, “They’re very badly shaken. They go into this business because they want to help people. Even though it was processed according to our procedures, it does not comfort them at all.”
But neighbors of the Grimmers feel differently about how the tragedy played out. “If this person had done their job, had investigated the case of Rachelle and her children, nothing would have happened.”
“I’ve seen people arrive with brand new trucks asking for food stamps and they receive it. They are well dressed, have nice jewelry and this woman had nothing to eat,” he added.
Another source said, “They need a phone, right? Isn’t this the reason for the welfare office not being able to reach them to finish the assistance process? Perhaps they did not have a working phone in July or August, during the time they could not be reached. Service can be shut-off when a bill is due and turned back on when the past-due amount is paid.”
At 7:00 on Wednesday, 12 year-old Ramie passed away from her injuries. At that point her brother, 10 year-old Timothy was fighting for his life at the San Antonio University Hospital, both suffering from gunshots to the head. On Thursday, doctors were unable to save the young boy.
“Maybe she thought she could not leave her children suffering, she was tired of seeing themselves poor, without food, so I think she decided to take them with her to continue caring for them,” said a neighbor of the Grimmers.