The family of an Arlington, Texas, teenager accused of shooting four people in a school shooting said he was bullied over his fancy clothes and $35,000 car.
Timothy George Simpkins, 18, a student at Timberview High School in Arlington, was being held on a $75,000 bond on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon on Wednesday. Simpkins, who is accused of opening fire at Timberview High School, surrendered to police after an hours-long manhunt before turning himself in Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. Simpkins was released after posting bond on Thursday, the Daily Mail reported.
Before fleeing Timberview High School on Wednesday, he grabbed a gun from his bag and shot a 15-year-old boy ‘seven or eight times,’ shot teacher Calvin Pettitt in the back, and a bullet grazed a teenage girl. He was angry because a fight had just occurred in which a 15-year-old boy had repeatedly punched him.
Police said a 15-year-old boy was critically injured after being shot, and a 25-year-old man who was also shot was hospitalized in good condition.
A teenage girl was treated and released after suffering minor injuries. A pregnant woman received treatment inside the school and was not taken to a hospital.
Simpkins—who was accused of firing a 45-caliber handgun during a fight with another student—lives in a $400,000 home with his grandmother, Lillie, and drives a 2018 Dodge Charger.
His family expressed gratitude for him not committing suicide as a result of the bullying, per New York Post.
“He was robbed. It was recorded. It happened not just once, it happened twice. He was scared, he was afraid,” Carol Harrison-Lafayette, a relative who spoke on behalf of Simpkins’ family, told reporters.
Simpkins’ cousin, Cinthy Wheat, said he was bullied and robbed by a group of kids around a week ago. Although the robbery did not take place on school grounds, she stated that Timberview was aware of the bullying.
“He’s not a bad kid. He’s never been in trouble,” she said in a phone interview Thursday. “He was being bullied and was robbed.”
Wheat wrote on social media, “It could have been a decision that he could have committed suicide … he was trying to protect himself. They were blessed financially.”
Simpkins’ cousin released a video of the fight on social media on Wednesday night in an attempt to prove that he was being bullied.
Simpkins, who was shown in the video wearing a light-colored hoodie, gets beaten by the other boy, who is three years his junior while keeping his hands around his head.
Right after the fight was over, he rushed to his orange backpack, got out his gun, and started shooting.
“Multiple teachers and coaches were working to break up the altercation between Simpkins and the juvenile victim.”
“Once the fight was broken up, the juvenile witness observed Simpkins go to an orange backpack and retrieve a black firearm.”
“The witness observed Simpkins point the firearm at the juvenile victim and sees Simpkins shoot, from her account, seven to eight times.”
“The witness then observed the juvenile victim fall to the ground,” according to the police report obtained by the DailyMail.
A lady identifying herself as the suspect’s mother also said he was bullied but declined to elaborate, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“We have to take a look at the fact that bullying is real. And it takes us all. And I do apologize. We ask as a family for forgiveness of any type of hurt,” Harrison-Lafayette stated, adding that his bullying had been reported to teachers and principals.
“He was able to get things that other teenagers cannot have, because he wore nice clothes, because he drove nice cars, he was like a target,”
“I’m not trying to justify the gun that was brought, but when you’re being bullied, when there’s bullies, throughout this nation you hear of young people … committing suicide,”
“The decision he made, taking the gun, we’re not justifying that,” Harrison-Lafayette added. “That was not right. But he was trying to protect himself. And so we hope that the police department does the investigation properly. There are going to be independent investigations that are going to be done as well so we can get to the bottom of really what happened.”
She went on: “He’s been around his grandmother, his loving mother, they taught him to love, and he was a giver … mostly well liked up until the point where he got into his senior year. … He was looking forward to graduating and doing something with his life.”
When asked about claims of bullying made by some parents, Mansfield schools spokesman Donald Williams said the district is undertaking a thorough investigation.
“What I will say to that is we take the safety and security of our students in our faculty and staff seriously,” he said.
During a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Arlington Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye said the shooting was the result of a fight that broke out in a classroom.
“I can confirm that we are aware of both videos and we believe they show the fight that took place this morning prior to the shooting,” police spokesman Tim Ciesco said, according to the station. “They are being looked at as part of the investigation.”