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Texas Welfare Office Shooting: Mom Denied Food Stamps For Months, Shoots Own Kids


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Texas Welfare Office Shooting: Mom Denied Food Stamps For Months, Shoots Own Kids

PAUL J. WEBER 12/ 6/11 07:10 PM ET

SAN ANTONIO — A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said Tuesday.

The children, a 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, remained in critical condition Tuesday. The shooting took place at a Texas Department of Health and Human Services building in Laredo, where police said about 25 people were inside at the time.

Authorities identified the mother as Rachelle Grimmer, 38, and children Ramie and Timothy. 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 didn't know what Grimmer specifically failed to provide. In addition to completing an 18-page application, families seeking state benefits also must provide documents proving their information, such as proof of employment and residency.

"We were still waiting, and if we had that, I don't know if she would still qualify or not," Goodman said.

Goodman said Grimmer's last contact with the agency appeared to be 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.

Shortly thereafter, Goodman said, Grimmer was taken to a private room to discuss her case. She said it was there the mother revealed a gun and the standoff began.

Police negotiators stayed on the phone with Grimmer throughout the evening, but she kept hanging up, Baeza said. She allegedly told negotiators about a litany of complaints against state and federal government agencies.

Despite those complaints, Baeza said it wasn't clear what specifically triggered the standoff.

"This wasn't like a knee-jerk reaction," said Baeza, adding that Grimmer felt she was owed restitution of some sort.

Grimmer 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.

Multiple family members in Ohio and Missouri did not immediately return phone messages Tuesday. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said the agency had no information on Grimmer.

A YouTube channel the family appeared to have created in 2009 includes a profile that reads, "We are Shell, Ramie and Tim. Mom, daughter 10 and son 8. We like turtles, horses, and being outside. The kids have two turtles, an alligator snapper and a red eared slider. We work on naturalizing them and try to give them the most natural setting possible."

There are no videos uploaded. Tagged as favorites are an eclectic mix of nearly two dozen videos, ranging from a solar panel installation to a live clip of the band of AC/DC. The "Hometown" category reads: "We don't have one."

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 also would have been denied benefits if she was receiving welfare assistance.

Grimmer also appeared to fall out of touch during her pursuit of food stamps. The mother originally applied July 7, but Goodman said Grimmer missed her first interview and didn't call back and reschedule for a few weeks. Her case was closed Aug. 8 for lack of a full application, Goodman said.

How much food stamp money a family receives depends on their income level. The average family on food stamps in Texas receives $294 a month.

Three months later, Grimmer called the agency's ombudsman Nov. 16 and requested a review of how her rejected case was handled. Goodman said the agency found that caseworkers acted appropriately after looking over Grimmer's file, and a supervisor called Grimmer's cell phone last Thursday to tell her the outcome. No one answered and the phone's voicemail box was full, Goodman said.

"The indications she had she was dealing with a lot of issues," Goodman said.

State welfare offices have come under scrutiny in the past for being overburdened, but Goodman said the agency has made significant strides in the past three years. She said wait times are shorter, and that Grimmer was scheduled for her initial interview just one day after applying. Grimmer didn't make the appointment, she said.

Goodman said it's not unusual for caseworkers to confront angry or confused benefit-seekers, but that it's very rare for a situation to escalate to violence.

Source:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/06/texas-welfare-office-shooting_n_1132281.html

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Struggle or not there is no excuse for shooting your fucking kids. Bitch was clearly crazy and shouldn't have been a parent anyway clearly. Which is why her ass needed assistance in the first place. if you wanna end your own life shoot your damn self and let the kids live in foster care or with a family member ffs.

Crazy bitch is in hell.

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Struggle or not there is no excuse for shooting your fucking kids. Bitch was clearly crazy and shouldn't have been a parent anyway clearly. Which is why her ass needed assistance in the first place. if you wanna end your own life shoot your damn self and let the kids live in foster care or with a family member ffs.

Crazy bitch is in hell.

Extreme deprivation and struggle can take people places they never imagined. I do somewhat agree with what your saying though. Shooting the kids, there is just NO excuse at all

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Struggle or not there is no excuse for shooting your fucking kids. Bitch was clearly crazy and shouldn't have been a parent anyway clearly. Which is why her ass needed assistance in the first place. if you wanna end your own life shoot your damn self and let the kids live in foster care or with a family member ffs.

Crazy bitch is in hell.

eggs.act.ly

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2nd child shot by mom in Texas welfare office dies

By CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN and MATT VOLZ | AP – 8 hrs ago

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McALLEN, Texas (AP) — A 10-year-old son of a woman who shot her two children and then killed herself during a police standoff at a Texas welfare office died on Thursday, a day after his sister succumbed to her wounds.

Timothy Grimmer died Thursday evening at a San Antonio hospital after he was removed from life support, Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said. His sister Ramie, 12, who authorities say was also shot by mother Rachelle Grimmer, died Wednesday night at the same hospital.

Their father, Dale Grimmer, spent time at his son's bedside Thursday before consulting with doctors and deciding to pull Timothy off of life support, said Mary Lee Shepherd, the children's grandmother.

"He spent hours with Ramie and finally had to let her go," Shepherd said. "He's just concentrating on saying goodbye to his children."

Their mother, 38-year-old Rachelle Grimmer, shot the children Monday and then killed herself, ending a seven-hour standoff at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services office in Laredo. Authorities say she had asked to speak to a caseworker about why her food stamps application had been rejected and pulled a gun after being taken to a private room to speak.

Police say Grimmer let the roughly two dozen people in the building besides her children leave unharmed. During the standoff, she rattled off a litany of complaints about government, Baeza said.

The family had been living in a rundown trailer park, and Rachelle Grimmer had been seeking food stamps since July, shortly after they moved to Texas from Ohio.

The state Health and Human Services Commission released a timeline on Thursday of its contact with Rachelle Grimmer dating back to July 7, when Grimmer submitted an application for benefits.

At that point Grimmer was told she would not qualify for "emergency benefits," in which documentation requirements are postponed, because she said she received child support that exceeded her expenses for rent and utilities.

A caseworker interviewed Rachelle Grimmer July 22 to see if she was eligible for benefits. She was told then that she must provide documentation of her income, in this case child support.

"We closed the case on Aug. 8 because we hadn't received proof of her income," agency spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said in an email. "If we had that, it's quite likely she would have been eligible for benefits."

On Nov. 16, Rachelle Grimmer called the agency's ombudsman to ask that someone look into her case. On Dec. 1, an agency supervisor called Grimmer, but got no answer and the voice mailbox was full.

Dale and Rachelle Grimmer divorced six or seven years ago, Shepherd said. Dale Grimmer flew to San Antonio Wednesday with his brother and father. She described him as shocked and devastated.

Shepherd said her former daughter-in-law had a history of mental illness and Dale Grimmer tried three times to have the children removed from her custody while they were living in Anaconda, Mont., and Ohio with no results.

"Many, many times he tried to tell people what was happening and nobody would listen," Shepherd said.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services could not immediately verify her claims on Thursday.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services reported finding two cases Wednesday involving Grimmer and her children.

In the first case, reported Sept. 15, 2010, the department received a possible neglect report after Rachelle Grimmer and her two children were found living in a tent on a South Texas beach. Investigators found no evidence of neglect and closed the case, spokesman Patrick Crimmins said.

In a report made last June, Corpus Christi police said Rachelle Grimmer had come to police headquarters with her two children and reported that she had been a domestic violence victim. Caseworkers checked on her and the children, determined the children were not at risk and took no further action, Crimmins said.

It appears Rachelle Grimmer and the children were in Ohio until at least some point in 2009.

Rachelle Grimmer was homeschooling them, but keeping the Crooksville Exempted Village School District apprised of the curriculum she was using through the 2008-2009 school year, said Vicky Nelson, administrative assistant to the district superintendent.

"There were no problems," Nelson said. The district sent a renewal application to Rachelle Grimmer for the next year, but received no response and was told the family had moved.

http://news.yahoo.com/2nd-child-shot-mom-texas-welfare-office-dies-033254062.html

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