Woodlands Elite cheerleader shot when teammate mistakenly got in wrong car 'getting better daily'

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Friday, April 28, 2023
Woodlands Elite cheerleader shot near Austin released from hospital
Woodlands Elite cheerleader Payton Washington was released from the hospital after being shot outside H-E-B in Elgin over a mistake by her teammate.

ELGIN, Texas -- Payton Washington, the Woodlands Elite cheerleader who was shot after one of her teammates mistakenly got into the wrong car outside an H-E-B near Austin, has been released from the hospital.

On Friday, Payton wrote on her Instagram, "Thank you for everyone who has prayed for me. It's been a really hard two weeks but I'm working to get better daily."

SEE PREVIOUS REPORT: Woodlands Elite cheerleader stable after being shot outside HEB near Austin, coach says

Payton was shot when Heather Roth, one of the three teammates she was with, opened the door to the wrong car at the grocery store parking lot, thinking it was hers.

Heather, Payton, and two teammates commute from Austin to the Woodlands to practice. They meet at the H-E-B in Elgin, then carpool.

Heather said a man was sitting in the passenger seat, so she initially panicked, thinking a stranger was inside her car, and got back into her friend's vehicle.

When she noticed the man approach their vehicle, she said she rolled down the window to apologize, telling him she thought it was her car. Heather said the man threw up his hands, pulled out a gun, and started shooting.

RELATED: 'It's a girl in a cheer outfit': Dad says his daughter couldn't have looked intimidating to shooter

As Payton Washington recovers from a shooting that apparently started over a mistake, her father is doubting that his daughter posed any danger to the man accused of wounding her.

Heather was grazed in the shooting, but Payton was shot in the leg and back.

Last week, Payton's dad said his daughter's spleen was removed and was recovering.

The suspect who opened fire on the girls, identified as 25-year-old Pedro Tello, was arrested for the shooting and held on a $500,000 bond.

"Take some time to tell everyone you love them. Things in your life can change so quickly and you don't want to lose an opportunity to let them know how you feel," Payton continued on her Instagram post.

Payton has made a name for herself in the cheer world, overcoming the odds to compete in some of the toughest cheer competitions and signing with Baylor in her junior year.