The family of an 18-year-old student suspected of opening fire and injuring four people at a Texas high school on Wednesday claims he was being bullied and brought the handgun to protect himself.
Timothy Simpkins, a student at Timberview High School in Arlington, allegedly drew a .45 caliber handgun during a fight that broke out in a classroom around 9:15 a.m. before fleeing in a 2018 Silver Dodge Charger. After an hours-long manhunt, Simpkins turned himself in and is expected to be charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHOOTING INJURES MULTIPLE, SUSPECT IN CUSTODY, ARLINGTON POLICE SAY
Following the incident, Simpkins’ family told reporters outside their home in Arlington that he was a target of bullying and had been robbed twice at school.
“The decision he made, taking the gun, we are not justifying that. That was not right. But he was trying to protect himself,” said family member Carol Harrison Lafayette, according to FOX4 Dallas-Fort Worth. “We hope the police department does the investigation properly.”
“To the victims’ family, there is no justification of anybody being hurt,” Lafayette said.
A 15-year-old boy was shot and remained in critical condition while a 25-year-old teacher who was also shot was in good condition, the outlet reported. A teenage girl was treated and released from a hospital after being grazed by a bullet. A pregnant teacher was injured in a fall and was treated at the scene.
Lafayette said that Simpkins had been targeted for wearing nice clothes and driving a nice car, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, adding that incidents between Simpkins and other students had been reported to principals and teachers.
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Arlington police said cell phone video shows the fight breaking out before Simpkins fired the gun. Lafayette claimed the video shows Simpkins was being attacked, the paper reported.
All classes and after-school activities were canceled Thursday, and counseling services were made available for students, staff and families.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace and Louis Casiano contributed to this report.