WASHINGTON — Two cheerleaders were shot in a Texas parking lot after one mistakenly tried to enter the wrong car, part of a spate of similar incidents this week in the United States.
The gunman fired multiple shots at the young women, seriously wounding one, police reported.
The shooting early Tuesday came days after a Black teenager was shot in Missouri after ringing the wrong doorbell, and a young woman was shot dead in New York state after showing up at an incorrect address.
In Texas, four cheerleaders — reported to be teenagers — were using the grocery store parking lot to carpool to cheer practice. They had returned to pick up their vehicles after midnight.
Heather Roth said she got out of her friend’s car and went to what she believed was her vehicle and opened the door, before realising a man was sitting inside. She then returned to her friend’s car.
“I see the guy get out of the passenger door and I roll my window down and I was trying to apologise,” she said in a video shared by ABC affiliate KTRK.
“He just threw his hands up and then he pulled out a gun, and then he just started shooting at all of us.”
A 25-year-old suspect, Pedro Tello Rodriguez, has been arrested and charged with deadly conduct, with the possibility of more charges, said the police department in Elgin, 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of state capital Austin.
One cheerleader identified by local media as Payton Washington, “sustained serious injuries and was transported to the hospital by helicopter,” police said.
A GoFundMe campaign — which had raised nearly US$70,000 (RM310,2050) as of yesterday morning — said that “Payton was shot twice and badly injured. She is stable in the ICU and will have a long road to recovery.”
Roth suffered a graze wound and was treated on scene, KTRK said.
The girls made an approximately 360-mile (580-kilometer) round trip three times a week to participate in an elite competitive cheerleading team.
Deadly shootings are a regular occurrence in the United States, a country of around 330 million people and an estimated 400 million guns.
Ralph Yarl, 16, was shot twice after ringing the wrong doorbell in Missouri while trying to pick up his twin brothers.
The suspected shooter, an elderly white man, has surrendered to authorities and on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to assault and armed criminal action, according to US media reports.
And the 20-year-old woman in New York state was shot dead by a homeowner on Saturday night when she showed up with three others at the wrong address when trying to find a friend’s house. — AFP