Texas woman denied food stamps shoots children, kills self


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A woman who barricaded herself in a Texas welfare office before shooting her two children and killing herself had been denied food stamps months earlier, state officials said Tuesday.

The children, a 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl, were in critical condition at a San Antonio hospital Tuesday, said Joe Baeza, a Laredo Police Department investigator.


On Monday evening, the 38-year-old woman entered a state welfare office in Laredo and, while speaking with two employees, pulled out a handgun and demanded to see a supervisor, Baeza said.

When the supervisor arrived, he persuaded the woman to let the two other employees go in exchange for him staying. Meanwhile, about 25 other people in the office left the building, Baeza said.

About 7:45 p.m., after two hours of negotiating with police, the woman let the supervisor go. Another few hours of negotiating passed, with the woman frequently hanging up on police.

About 11:45 p.m., police heard three shots. A SWAT team entered the office and found the woman and her two wounded children, Baeza said.

The children were taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to San Antonio, where they remained in critical condition. The names of the woman and children have not been released.

The woman, who recently moved to the area from Zanesville, Ohio, had applied for food stamps from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in July, but her request was denied because she did not provide sufficient information on the application, said Stephanie Goodman, a spokeswoman for the agency.


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-- Stephen Ceasar