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Cheerleaders shot in ‘horrific’ incident

Two Texas cheerleaders were shot when one reportedly got into the wrong car thinking it was her own.

The shootings, just outside Austin, are part of a disturbing trend over the last week in the US where gun owners have apparently shot at people who have innocently stumbled into situations. At least one person has died.

In the latest such incident, two members of an elite cheerleading squad were attacked in a supermarket car park in Elgin, east of Austin, just after midnight on Tuesday morning, according to television station ABC 13.

The pair were part of a group of four who trained three times a week at a cheerleading school in the city.

They used the supermarket as a car pooling location where they would all meet and then drive to the school together.

Heather Roth told ABC 13 that she left her friend’s car and opened the door of a vehicle she assumed was her own.

However, there was a man sitting in the passenger seat. Initially she thought a stranger was in her car and retreated back into her friend’s vehicle.

Ms Roth said the man then approached the car she was in.

“I see the guy get out of the passenger door, and I rolled my window down, and I was trying to apologise to him,” Ms Roth said at a later prayer vigil.

“And then halfway, my window was down, and he just threw his hands up, and then he pulled out a gun and he just started shooting at all of us.”

Ms Roth suffered a graze wound that was treated at the scene. However, fellow cheerleader Payton Washington was hit in the leg and back.

“Payton opens the door, and she starts throwing up blood,” Ms Roth told ABC 13.

Ms Washington remains in hospital in a critical condition.

The Woodlands Elite Cheer Company, which the cheerleaders were training at, issued a statement on social media.

“Four of our girls were involved in a horrific incident on their way home after practice last night.”

It asked that people keep the four in their prayers.

Police in Elgin said they had charged Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr, 25, with deadly conduct, ABC reported.

The Texas attack has continued a spate of shootings over the last few days where people have been shot for allegedly doing nothing more than going to the wrong house or getting in the wrong car.

On Saturday, Kaylin Gillis, 20, was shot dead in Hebron, a rural town about 300km north of New York, when the car she was in pulled into the wrong driveway.

Local police said homeowner Kevin Monahan, 65, fired two shots from his porch as the car was turning around to drive away.

The group in the car had to drive to another town with mobile phone reception to call for help. Ms Gillis could not be saved.

Mr Monahan initially refused to leave his home when police arrived but eventually was charged with second degree murder.

Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy said Ms Gillis was looking for a friend’s house and there was “no reason for Mr Monahan to feel threatened”.

In Kansas City, Missouri, Ralph Yarl, 16, is recovering after he was shot in the head and arm when he rang the wrong doorbell last Thursday night.

Ralph was scheduled to pick up his twin brothers at a home on 115th Terrace but accidentally went to 115th Street, police said.

He told police he was instantly shot in the head, and when he fell to the ground, he was then shot in the arm.

The teenager claimed to police that homeowner Andrew Lester warned, “Don’t come around here,” as he fled, fearing he would be shot again.

Mr Lester, 84, told police he was going to bed when Ralph rang his doorbell on Thursday night, alarming the man.

He told police he was “scared to death,” thinking someone was trying to break into his home when he fired at Ralph, who he described as a “black male, approximately six feet [183cm] tall, pulling on the storm door handle”.

Ralph, however, maintains that he never touched the door and was outside the home to pick up his younger brothers, who were waiting for him at a nearby address.

Mr Lester was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action, the New York Post reported.

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