Girl shot by mom in Texas standoff made grim Facebook post

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 07, 2011 8:13 PM
Girl shot by mom in Texas standoff made grim Facebook post

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - Before Monday, Ramie Grimmer's Facebook page read like that of any other 12 year old girl with numerous friends, discussions about skateboarding, text messaging and "my annoying little brother."

But about two hours after her mother had taken Ramie and her brother Timothy Grimmer, 10, and a human services worker hostage at a state office in Laredo, Texas, she posted the words, 'may die 2day,' police said on Wednesday.

The standoff ended late on Monday with Rachelle Grimmer shooting Ramie and Timothy once each in the head and then killing herself, police said.

Ramie and Timothy were flown to a San Antonio hospital in extremely critical condition after the shooting. They remained in critical condition on Wednesday, said Mary Walker of Child Protective Services in San Antonio.

Walker said relatives had contacted state officials and are prepared to take custody of the children if they survive.

Grimmer, 38, had lived in at least four places since moving to Texas from Zanesville, Ohio, eight months ago. She went to the state health and human services office in downtown Laredo near the close of business on Monday looking for assistance.

After being taken to a consultation room, Grimmer pulled a gun and took a supervisor hostage along with her two children. She released the supervisor about two hours into the standoff.

Ramie Grimmer changed the 'employers' section on her Facebook page to 'may die 2day' about two hours into the standoff, Laredo police said.

About five hours into the standoff, Grimmer hung up on negotiators. Police heard three gunshots shortly after that and entered the room to find Grimmer and her children.

Police sent tear gas into the office to try to end the standoff just before the shots were fired, an action Ramie Grimmer also recorded by changing her Facebook status to 'tear gar seriasly (sic)'.

A woman who identified herself as Ramie's grandmother posted a reply to the message: 'No need to be afraid, I'm here for you guys.'

But Laredo Police Officer Joe Baeza said Ramie had already been shot by the time that supportive message was posted.

Police and state officials on Wednesday were trying to piece together what led to the standoff and shooting.

Grimmer had applied for benefits July 7 and was scheduled for a phone interview to complete the application the next day, but case workers could not reach her, said Stephanie Goodman, a Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman.

Contacting Grimmer became more difficult and officials closed the case when they could not leave a message because her cell phone voice mailbox was full, Goodman said. The family has not received state benefits since moving to Texas, she said.

Goodman said the department tries to make aid decisions quickly and the incident may lead to changes toward better communication within the state and possibly added security at food stamp offices.

The head of the state Legislative committee which oversees the department has said there will be an investigation and Laredo Police Chief Carlos Modrano said he hoped workers would be more responsive to pleas for help.

"If anything, I think our policy makers need to look at this and understand what the impact of not taking any action, of not making a decision, could ultimately have," he said.

(Editing by David Bailey and Peter Bohan)