SAN ANTONIO – Hours before her mother shot her, Ramie Marie Grimmer, 12, posted a chilling Facebook update: “May die 2day.”
Ramie wrote the words Monday night after her mother had taken her and her 10-year-old brother, Timothy Grimmer, hostage along with a human services worker at a state office in Laredo, Texas, police said Wednesday. The standoff ended late Monday with Rachelle Grimmer shooting Ramie and Timothy once each in the head and then killing herself, police said.
Ramie died Wednesday in a San Antonio hospital. Her brother Timothy is in critical condition.
The seven-hour ordeal began when Rachelle Grimmer visited the state welfare agency in Laredo with her children, angry because the family had been denied food stamps.
When the family entered the office, shortly before 5 p.m., Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker, not one with whom she worked previously, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman told The Associated Press.
Shortly thereafter, Goodman said, Grimmer was taken to a private room to discuss her case. She said it was there that 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, 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 p.m., but stayed inside the office with her children. Hostage negotiators stayed on the phone with Grimmer, reported the AP.
Five minutes later, 12-year-old Ramie changed the “employer” section of her Facebook account to “may die 2day.”
Nearly three hours later, at 10:34 p.m., Ramie posted “im bored,” and then 18 minutes later, “ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhhhh”.
Grandmother responds on Facebook
Ramie’s final post, at 11:28 p.m., read “tear gas seriasly” [sic], an apparent reference to the SWAT team that had surrounded the building. In response, a woman on Facebook who identifies herself as Ramie and Timothy’s grandmother wrote back “I’m here for you guys. no reason to be afraid”.
But after negotiators hung up the phone with Grimmer around 11:45 p.m., police heard three shots, and entered the building. Inside, they found Grimmer's body and her two wounded children.
The children’s other grandmother told The AP her former daughter-in-law had a history of mental problems. Mary Lee Shepherd of Montana says she and her son Dale Grimmer, the children's father, had contacted social workers at least three times. She says they worried Grimmer could harm the children.
Grimmer first applied for food stamps in July but was denied because she didn't turn in enough information, Goodman said.
Goodman said Grimmer's last contact with the agency appeared to be a phone call in mid-November.
It wasn't clear what specifically triggered Monday’s deadly standoff.
"This wasn't like a knee-jerk reaction," said Baeza, adding that Grimmer felt she was owed restitution of some sort.