Mom Denied Food Stamps Shoots Kids, Kills Self


texasA Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and held a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killingherself, officials said Tuesday.

The 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl remained in critical condition Tuesday. Authorities identified the mother as Rachelle Grimmer, 38, and children Ramie and Timothy.

When the family entered the office on Monday shortly before it closed, Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker, and not the one whom she worked with before, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.

Grimmer was taken to a private room to discuss her case, then she revealed a gun and the standoff began, Goodman said.

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

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 riot police team entered the building. Inside, they found Grimmer’s body and her two wounded children.

The children were “very critical” and unconscious, Baeza 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.

Baeza said Grimmer had recently moved to the border city from Ohio.

Grimmer first applied for food stamps in July but was denied because she didn’t turn in enough information, Goodman said. She said it wasn’t immediately clear what information was missing.

“We were still waiting, and if we had that, I don’t know if she would still qualify or not,” 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’s move from Ohio may have complicated Grimmer’s application if the family had no Texas records the agency could check electronically, Goodman said.

State welfare offices have come under scrutiny in the past for being overburdened, but Goodman said the agency has made significant progress 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.

{CBS News/ Newscenter}


  1. My old teacher used to work at EI (a welfare benefit in Canada), there were many stories of disgruntled people who were in bad situations but what made him quit was when a guy came in the building with a shotgun in his coat… a quick thinking security guard stopped the elevator on his way up, the guy could’nt go up or down so he shot himself.

  2. This is TERRIBLE. So much more than sad. What’s really sad is poor, suffering people can’t get help b/c not-so-poor, not-so-suffering people lie and cheat and use up their resources. How awful!

  3. I can identify with her. The poor get everything for free. The rich don’t need help. and the lower middle income work like donkeys, pay for themselves, and pay for poor (or so called poor), and pay for everything, and then some! What a sick system. No wonder people cheat and say lies. Otherwise, they wouldn’t qualify, and in this country, it is just toooo baaad on the lower middle income person.

  4. The headline and whole slant of this article is nauseatingly liberal. She did not kill herself and kids because she was denied food stamps any more than Leiby’s killer killed him because he panicked in the face of the massive search for Leiby. Some people are sick to depths of their soul.