SAN ANTONIO

- A Texas woman who for months was unable to qualify for food stamps pulled a gun in a state welfare office and staged a seven-hour standoff with police that ended with her shooting her two children before killing herself, officials said yesterday.

The children, a boy, 10, and a girl, 12, remained in critical condition yesterday. The shooting took place Monday night at a Texas Department of Health and Human Services building in Laredo.

Authorities identified the mother as Rachelle Grimmer, 38, and children Ramie and Timothy. Laredo police investigator Joe Baeza said that Grimmer had recently moved to the border city from Zanesville, Ohio, about 30 miles east of Columbus.

Grimmer first applied for food stamps in July but was denied because she didn't turn in enough information, Texas Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman said.

Goodman said that it wasn't immediately clear what information the mother was missing. "We were still waiting, and if we had that, I don't know if she would still qualify or not," Goodman said.

The family entered the Laredo office on Monday shortly before 5 p.m. Goodman said that Grimmer asked to speak to a new caseworker and was taken to a private room to discuss her case. It was there the mother revealed a gun and the standoff began.