Second child dies after Laredo food stamp office shooting

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 09, 2011 11:08 AM

By Jim Forsyth

SAN ANTONIO (Reuters) - A 10-year-old boy shot by his mother in a standoff at the state food stamp office in Laredo, Texas, earlier this week died after his estranged father chose to take him off life support, Laredo police said on Friday.

Timothy Grimmer died around 9 p.m. Thursday at a hospital in San Antonio, a day after his 12-year-old sister, Ramie, died from gunshot wounds inflicted by their mother on Monday evening.

After shooting both her children in the head at the end of the seven-hour standoff, Rachelle Grimmer, 38, killed herself.

Grimmer had visited the government office in Laredo to complain her food stamp application had been denied.

Ramie, who updated her Facebook status throughout the standoff and at one point posted "may die 2day" under her personal information, was removed from life support Wednesday night at San Antonio's University Hospital, where the children had been rushed following the shooting.

Their mother was pronounced dead at the scene.

State officials said Grimmer had applied for food stamps in July, but officials had been unable to reach her to obtain the necessary information.

Neighbors have said the three lived a precarious existence, at one point staying in a tent on the beach near Corpus Christi. Their last residence was a run-down recreational vehicle in north Laredo where neighbors had seen them begging for food.

"It is a challenge that our office is working with," Stephanie Goodman of the Texas Department of Health and Human Services told Reuters.

"A lot of the people we work with move around a lot. At one point she did call us to tell us she had a new address so we could update that. She had even indicated to us that she understood why her case had been denied."

Goodman says there are no records that, despite their poverty, the Grimmers ever received any type of assistance from the state. She said the family apparently never approached any of the many aid agencies that operate in the border city of Laredo, one of the nation's most impoverished areas.

"That's what makes this situation all the more devastating," she said.

(Editing by Karen Brooks and Jerry Norton)