The student accused of injuring four people in a shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington on Wednesday was released on bail from the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday, as his attorney and family made new statements in his defense.
The family of Timothy Simpkins, 18, gathered outside the jail and joined in a prayer circle before escorting Simpkins to be processed and released.
Simpkins, who is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, was transferred from the Arlington jail to the Tarrant County facility before being released Thursday afternoon. After spending hours inside the jail, the family emerged and ushered the teen into a white Mercedes Benz parked outside the building.
Family declined to comment to reporters outside the jail, but online, a family spokesperson attributed a statement on behalf of Simpkins’ mother and grandmother.
The Facebook post attested to Simpkins’ character, saying that their son was painted as a “menace to our society and nothing could be further from the truth.”
“He has never been known to bother anyone and would do anything to help someone in need,” the post says.
“From the beginning of this school year, Timothy has been bullied at school. He has been beaten, taunted, and harassed on a daily basis,” the post read. “Recently he was ambushed by a group of young males outside of school, stripped of his clothing in front of a crowd of onlookers, and robbed of his money and possessions. He has been humiliated and stripped of his dignity on more than one occasion which led to him being fearful to go to school or even leave our home without an adult.”
The Facebook post said the issues were brought to school officials’ attention, but no actions were taken. A 15-year-old student who fought with Simpkins and a 25-year-old teacher who helped break up the fight were shot when Simpkins pulled a handgun from his backpack and opened fire, police wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit. Another student was grazed by a bullet, and a teacher had minor injuries from a fall.
At a press conference Wednesday, Mansfield school district Associate Superintendent of Communications Donald Williams said, “We don’t know if [bullying] was tied to [the shooting], but what I will say is we take the safety and security of our students and our faculty and staff seriously. … The entire situation will be assessed and evaluated and for us as a district we’re always looking at ways in which we can improve and get better. … We have law enforcement officers on every single one of our campuses, I think that’s important for the community to know and that’s been something that’s been a tremendous benefit for us as a school district.”
“We’re going to continue to investigate this particular situation and the students that are involved will be dealt with in accordance to our Student Code of Conduct, and that’s the way that whole process is handled,” Williams added.
The family’s post said Simpkins “became depressed and some days did not even want to get out of bed. I am certain that he was fearful for his safety and felt that he had no support from those in authority whose responsibility it was to protect him.”
The family also added that Simpkins’ father was “brutally beaten to death,” and that it “definitely heightened Timothy’s fear for his life.”
“Many of you have seen the video of the brutal beating Timothy received — he never even returned a blow — he simply balled up and covered his head,” the family’s statement said, referencing video of the fight that preceded the shooting. “Not to mention that the young men responsible for beating and harassing him recently made threats to kill him so you see, my son was terrified and believed he would be murdered just like his father.”
The Facebook status described the 18-year-old as a “kind and thoughtful child,” who earned straight A’s before transferring to Timberview. Simpkins attended a private school and wanted to become an engineer, according to the social media post.
“Please know that I am not suggesting that taking a gun to school was the right choice to make, I am just saying that there is so much more to the story and all of the details should be known so that my son can be properly defended,” the post said.
Simpkins’ attorney, Kim Te’Nee Cole, spoke briefly after he left the jail. She spoke out against what she called a “false narrative” that described Wednesday’s shooting as a “mass shooting.”
“Obviously what happened [Wednesday] was very tragic,” she said. “I believe it being portrayed as the standard issue in school shootings is simply a media issue and not a legal issue.”
Cole said the family did not have an additional statement Thursday afternoon.
This story was originally published October 7, 2021 1:23 PM.
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