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Texas Denies Mother Food Stamps. Mother Shoots 2 Kids Then Kills Herself

by David Badash on December 6, 2011

in News

Post image for Texas Denies Mother Food Stamps. Mother Shoots 2 Kids Then Kills Herself

A mother of two children in Laredo, Texas was denied food stamps for several months by the Texas Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In despair, the mother pulled a gun and staged a seven-hour standoff with police before shooting her two children, ages 10 and 12, then shooting herself to death in the HHS office, late Monday. The two children are reported in “very critical” condition.

The mother, Rachelle Grimmer, 38, reportedly had “a litany of complaints against state and federal government agencies,” and had recently moved to Texas from Ohio. A police spokesperson said, “This wasn’t like a knee-jerk reaction.”

More vía The Huffington Post:

Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said Grimmer had recently moved to the border city from Zanesville, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus.

Grimmer first applied for food stamps in July but was denied because she didn’t turn in enough information, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.

Goodman said the Grimmer’s last contact with the agency appeared to a phone call in mid-November. When the family entered the Laredo office on Monday shortly before 5 p.m., Goodman said Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker, and not the one whom she worked with previously.

She let a supervisor go unharmed around 7:45, but stayed inside the office with her children. After hanging up the phone around 11:45, police heard three shots, and a SWAT team entered the building. Inside, they found Grimmer’s body and her two wounded children.

The children were “very critical” and unconscious when taken from the scene, Baeza said.

Goodman credited an office supervisor, a 24-year veteran of the agency, for ensuring the release of the other employees.

“He had told her he would try to help her, and that if she would let everyone else leave, he would talk to her,” Goodman said.

Goodman didn’t know whether Grimmer had a job, or whether her children were covered under Medicaid or the state children’s health insurance program. The family had no history with the Texas Department of Child Protective Services.

The family’s move from Ohio may have complicated Grimmer’s application if the family had no Texas records the agency could check electronically, Goodman said. Grimmer would have also been denied benefits if she was receiving welfare assistance.

Goodman said the agency would try to answer why Grimmer, after having been denied food stamps in early August, waited until mid-November to call back and check on her case.

News video from today from local NBC affiliate around noon local time:

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smkovalinsky December 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

In Great Britain and Canada, helping the less fortunate is viewed as part of an evolved civilization, and justifies the taxation. This tragedy is just another example that this country is barbaric.

BobwaSEAWA December 6, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Well, Texas is one of the worst States in the United States to seek assistance if you are poor from the report by it's own legislative body.… On page 5, under Health and Well-Being you will find that Texas 2nd highest rate of "Percent of Population with Food Insecurity". And of course this kind of reaction from an agency that is supposed to help, may be partly to blame, but the problem truly is the legislature in Texas and the Governor that are the major problem in the State. This kind of desperation just shouldn't be something that ought to be seen in the richest country in the world.

Scelerific December 6, 2011 at 8:15 pm

This woman must have been in such a state of despair. It's a tragedy she couldn't be helped–financially or emotionally–before it came to this. I hope the best for her children.

RICHARD0477 December 6, 2011 at 8:54 pm

For just one month of security detail for Governor Rick Perry, Texas taxpayers last month paid $400,000.00 to keep Rick Perry safe during his out of state trips to promote his candidacy for President, but he says he's "promoting Texas everywhere he goes." Amazing, isn't it, how the money is used to benefit the people who hold the purse strings? No money available for the poor woman who needed some food for her children, living in a tiny travel trailer that's really meant for rich people to pull in a truck and go camping. Who's the father, and what about the child support? Why wasn't she getting money from him? When they give you food stamps, they always get reimbursement from the Dad anyway when they find him. They take it out of your child support money.

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