Texas cheerleader back on the mat at Baylor University after Elgin shooting

A college student is back and practicing in Central Texas after being shot in a grocery store parking lot. 

This past April, a suspect shot Payton Washington during a car mix up in Elgin while the cheerleader was on her way home from practice.

"When I saw the coaches at the hospital, I did cry because I thought my dreams were crushed at that moment," Payton Washington said referring to her dreams of being a collegiate athlete.

"I was like, 'what's the road now?'" Washington said.

Washington was getting ready for her final competitive cheerleader competition, her high school graduation, and preparing to head to Baylor University to be on the Acrobatics and Tumbling team.

In April, Washington woke up with a shattered spleen, damaged diaphragm and pancreas, two holes in her stomach, 32 staples, and her world flipped upside down.

"I was like in a lot of pain, I mean, my stomach was open for a week, I had two surgeries," Washington said.

On April 18, Washington and three of her teammates were on their way home after an out-of-town cheer practice in the Woodlands. They stopped at an H-E-B in Elgin to drop off one of the cheerleaders at her car.

"We thought it was the exact same car," Washington said.


But it wasn’t and Washington’s teammate tried to get into it.

"She just got in his car, came back in our car, apologized like really quickly rolled down the window and said, 'I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry,'" Washington said.

But, Pedro Tello Rodriguez fired multiple shots at the girls.

"I literally turned my whole body and that's why it hit me in the back, and then I could, it was just crazy, like there were gunshots through the steering wheel, through her evil eye on the mirror, just it's really, really, really insane," Washington said.

Washington was shot three times.

"A lot of people asked me, ‘did you think like you were going to die or anything like that?’ But for some reason I just knew I wasn't, I was just like, breathe, stay calm, you're fine. If you're walking, and you're talking, you're fine," Washington said.

She kept telling herself that through her recovery process. She said doctors expected her to be in the hospital for three months.

"I was like, ‘no,’" Washington said.

Washington was released after about a week and then back on the mat, now at Baylor University, with her new teammates on the Acrobatics and Tumbling team.

"Everyone wants everyone to accomplish amazing things, new skills, and they want everyone to make it, so it just really feels like a family, and now you always have someone with you, next to you, and has your back," Washington said.

Washington said she isn’t looking back.

"My whole main goal has been focusing on my future, so he’ll deal with what he did," Washington said.

Rodriguez is charged with deadly conduct, a third-degree felony. He is currently out of jail after posting bail.

"I’m just going to get my degree, get some national championship and then get a good job," Washington said.