by Jamie Stengel and Jill Bled
Arlington, Texas (AP) – An 18-year-old student opened fire during a fight at his Dallas-area high school on Wednesday, wounding four people and then fled before being taken into custody hours later, officials said. said.
Timothy George Simpkins was taken into custody without incident, Arlington Police Department tweeted. He was incarcerated at Arlington Prison on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and is being held on $75,000 bail.
Police said that one person was in critical condition, another was in good condition and the third person was treated for minor scratches and was to be released from the hospital on Wednesday. A fourth person was injured but did not require hospital treatment. Police had earlier said that three of the four injured were students.
Arlington Assistant Police Chief Kevin Colby told a news conference prior to Simpkins’ arrest that the shooting at Timberview High School, which is in Arlington but belongs to the school district of neighboring Mansfield, stemmed from a fight in a classroom.
“This is not a random act of violence,” he said. “It’s not someone attacking our school.”
A spokesman for Simpkins’ family said she was bullied and robbed twice at school.
Family spokeswoman Carol Harrison Lafayette said: “We are not justifying the decision he made, taking the gun.” “He was wrong. But he was trying to protect himself.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating how the suspect got the gun. Local police from other nearby jurisdictions, including the cities of Mansfield and Grand Prairie, assisted on Wednesday.
Student Hanila Milligan said she was the first to hear about the shooting when she heard a commotion.
“Someone outside my classroom said, ‘He just shot him,'” said 16-year-old Milligan, and then he heard people running. “People were scared. They were crying. They were trembling.”
After news of the shooting spread, hundreds of parents gathered at the Mansfield Independent School District Center for the Performing Arts, about 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the high school, to be reunited with their children, who were taken on a bus Was. Among them was Justin Rockhold, whose ninth-grade son texted him to let him know he was fine.
Rockhold said he served in the military and drew on that experience to instruct his son, telling him to keep his head down and stay safe. Asked if he thought there might be a school shooting, he said his military training also reminded him of the dangerous realities of life.
“Obviously in America – the world we live in today – it is always something or the other. … It is on your mind,” Rockhold said, praying for the wounded. “I am blessed today that My baby is safe.”
Timberview serves approximately 1,900 students from classes IX to XII. The huge complex opened in 2004.
Arlington, with a population of approximately 400,000, is a major suburb of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The city is home to attractions including the Six Flags Over Texas amusement park and stadium where the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and MLB’s Texas Rangers play. Officers closed a section of a tollway in Arlington near Timberview as dozens of school buses picked up students to reunite with their parents. Some waited for hours to pick up their children as traffic was crawling in the area.
The shooting comes days after Wednesday’s shooting at a charter school in Houston in which an administrator was injured. Texas’ deadliest school shooting occurred in May 2018 when a 17-year-old armed with a shotgun and pistol opened fire at Santa Fe High School near Houston, killing 10 people, most of them students.
An earlier version of this story was corrected to reflect that the suspect’s last name was Simpkins, not Simpkin.
Bleeds were reported from Little Rock, Arkansas. Acacia Coronado in Austin contributed to this report. Coronado is a core member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on secret issues.