Timothy Simpkins, a black teenager suspected of shooting 4 people during an altercation at his school in Texas, has been released on bail after paying a $75,000 bond, with his family claiming jealous students bullied and robbed him.
Simpkins, 18, was released from Tarrant County Jail in Texas on Thursday, after being arrested on Wednesday on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, resulting from a fight at Timberview High School. Simpkins allegedly open fire within the school itself, injuring 4, including two 15 year old students and a pregnant woman. One student, a 15 year old boy, was critically injured and required surgery, with 25-year old English teacher Calvin Pettitt remaining hospitalized with a collapsed lung. The other two victims suffered minor injuries.
A witness told police that the shooting happened after an initial fight between Simpkins and another student, with the fight being broken up by multiple teachers and coaches. Despite the second student having “stopped being combative,” Simpkins reached into his backpack and pulled out a firearm, firing at the boy he fought with, wounding him and others in the process. Dale Topham, a teacher at the school, said that students in other classrooms after hearing the shots huddled under the desks together to protect themselves.
The teenager was defended by his family on social media and in a press conference following the shooting. Simpkins, who had recently moved from a private school and owns a $35,000 Dodge Charger, which can be seen pictured on his Instagram with a firearm in the car door, was allegedly being bullied because students were “jealous” of him wearing “nice clothes” and was “able to get things that other teenagers cannot have.” (READ MORE: New FBI Crime Report Found Murder Spiked 30% In 2020)
Carol Harrison Lafayette, a relative of Simpkins, said that he was robbed twice, and that he was “scared and afraid” for his life. “It could have been a decision that he could have committed suicide… he was trying to protect himself. They were blessed financially,” Lafayette said, but that “there is no justification of anybody… being hurt.” Curly Wheat, his cousin, said that he “wasn’t a bad kid,” and claimed that the robbery made him think he had no “other options in his mind” other than to commit the school shooting.
Simpkins was quizzed by local media when he was released from jail, on a mere $75,000 bond. Reporters asked him if he wanted to apologise to his teachers and the students that were injured, and whether he was being bullied at school, to which he shook his head without saying anything. One Twitter user remarked that it was strange that a school shooting suspect was released on bond “the next day” after it had occurred.
Can’t remember a time where a school shooting suspect is released the next day. pic.twitter.com/OnxBNS0aoz
— Rach 🇺🇸 (@rachisawake) October 7, 2021