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Timberview High School shooting: What we know

Arlington police say that a fight between two students prompted the shooting.

ARLINGTON, Texas — This article will be continually updated as new information is released.

Four people were injured during a shooting that happened after a fight Wednesday morning at Timberview High School in Mansfield ISD, police said. 

The suspect, 18-year-old Timothy Simpkins, was later taken into custody on three counts of aggravated assault with a gun, police said. 

Simpkins was released on bond from Tarrant County Jail on Thursday morning, which was set at $75,000. 

The bond included several conditions: drug and alcohol testing, GPS monitoring and 24-hour home confinement, according to orders from Tarrant County Magistrate Judge Brooke Panuthos.

An arrest affidavit released Thursday morning reveals more details about the moments leading up to the shooting, including witness accounts describing to police an alleged fight between the witness and the suspected shooter.

Of the four victims, two remained in the hospital Thursday morning; one is a 15-year-old in critical condition and the other is a 25-year-old listed in good condition, police said. The other two were not in the hospital.

Witnesses describe shooting

Police said officers responded about 9:15 a.m. to reports of shots fired inside a second-floor classroom of high school off S. Watson Road. 

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, a witness told police that she heard a teacher calling for help from another classroom. The witness entered the classroom and witnessed a fight between two male students; one she identified as Simpkins, who was in a light-colored hoodie, the affidavit said. 

The witness intervened and broke up the fight and was able to control the other male involved in the fight, the affidavit said. The male in the fight gave up and stopped being combative the witness told police, according to the affidavit.

"When the witness turns around to check on Simpkins, Simpkins had produced a firearm," the affidavit said. "Upon seeing the firearm, this witness turned to run out of the classroom. The witness then heard three to four gunshots."

A Mansfield ISD officer who got to the scene found the person who Simpkins was allegedly fighting, the affidavit said. The person, who is a juvenile, was shot and identified Simpkins as the shooter, the affidavit said. 

The officer also found a second gunshot victim, who was one of the teachers trying to break up the fight.

Another witness told police that they saw the fight and saw multiple teachers and coaches trying to break up the fight.

The witness told police that once the fight was broken up, they saw Simpkins allegedly go to an orange backpack and "retrieve a black firearm," the affidavit said.

"The witness observed Simpkins point the firearm at the juvenile victim and sees Simpkins shoot from her account seven to eight times," the affidavit said. "The juvenile witnesses then observed the juvenile victim fall to the ground."

Lockdown

With the help of Mansfield ISD staff, the Mansfield ISD Police Department, Mansfield Police Department, and Grand Prairie Police Department, the school was immediately placed on lockdown during second period and secured. 

Photos and videos from inside the school showed students huddled in darkened classrooms. 

Senior Jaeden Marshall was across the hall when the fight started, and his teacher, identified as Calvin Pettitt, ran to help.

"A teacher’s yelling out ‘help’ about three times," Marshall said. "Not more than three seconds later there was about six shots let off."

Marshall said the class ran to the back of the room, and he and a few other students ran to block the door. 

“Stomach dropped," he said. "I didn’t know what to do for a second but I just made sure I stayed alive and the people in the classroom stayed alive.”

He said it was about 15 minutes before police came to the door and then a few more hours until the lockdown was lifted and they loaded busses. 

He and the class were able to speak to their teacher through an online messaging system. 

“He actually texted the class group chat that he’s in stable condition and he’s fine and he loves us," Marshall said. "That’s Mr. Pettitt for you.”

Read more from the student perspective.

RELATED: 'Mom, they're up here shooting': Inside Timberview High School as the shooting happened

Suspect identified

Police said it was with the help of witnesses that Simpkins was identified. 

An hours-long search for him and his vehicle immediately began. That vehicle was later found at an apartment complex in Grand Prairie, police said in a news conference. 

During the search for Simpkins, police and SWAT units were seen in the neighborhood where he lives and the street was blocked off. There were also US Marshals at the scene.

Simpkins was ultimately taken into custody around 1:15 p.m. Police said he turned himself in to police with a lawyer. 

Simpkins is now being charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Bond was set at $75,000, according to police.

Credit: Arlington Police Department

Police said they did recover a .45 caliber weapon near the scene, although the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is still trying to determine whether it was the one used in the shooting.

The victims

Four people were hurt over the course of the situation, police said.  Three had to be taken to the hospital. Two had gunshot wounds. 

  • Victim 1: A 15-year-old student identified by his family as Zacchaeus Selby was shot and is recovering in the intensive care unit at a local hospital after having surgery. Selby's family said he was shot four times - in the arm, leg, chest and stomach - and faces more surgeries. His family said he is in an induced coma and on a ventilator.
  • Victim 2: 25-year-old English teacher Calvin Pettit was also shot, did not have to undergo surgery and is in "good condition." 
  • Victim 3: A teenage female who had abrasions and was possibly grazed by a bullet. She was treated and released the same day.
  • Victim 4: A pregnant woman who was believed to have been hurt in a fall during the initial response. She was treated at the scene and released.

Police did not name the victims, but Simpkins was ordered by a judge to avoid contact with Pettit, and three others, according to his bond conditions. Bond conditions typically order a suspect to avoid contact with alleged victims and witnesses.

Parents and students reunited

Timberview High School and Early College High School parents and guardians were reunited with their students at the Center for Performing Arts at 1110 W. Debbie Lane, police said. 

Officers were at the scene and were processing each of the 1,700 students. Students were being bussed to that location.

Inside the school became a huge forensic scene as investigators began processing evidence. 

Minny Aceves, a parent who was texting her son from outside of Timberview HS spoke to WFAA at the scene.

"The teachers were being taken in, and they said two people are in surgery...I don't know. I don't know," Aceves said. "I just know my kid is in there and he's scared and they're in the dark. Police are going up and down." 

Another parent told WFAA her son contacted her as the shooting was happening, and her son was "so calm."

RELATED: Timberview High School parent describes FaceTimeing son as shooting was happening: 'He was so calm'

"No one woke up this morning thinking that this was going to happen. I mean, these children are just going through so much right now…and I just ask y’all to pray. Pray for these kids, pray for the parents, pray for the staff," the mother said.

She also said there needs to be better security in schools.

"My view is that I feel that there needs to be some kind of security, a tight security. And I’m not saying that Timberview failed, but that child got through. I don’t know if he was a student in the class, I don’t think he was. But he got through. We can’t have that."

All afterschool activities were canceled for the rest of the day, Wednesday. 

Classes, afterschool activities and games were also canceled for Timberview High School on Thursday, Oct. 7, the school wrote in a news release. Parent-teacher conferences scheduled for Oct. 8 have also been rescheduled to a later date, the school said.

Timberview High School is also offering counseling services for students, staff and families Thursday. These resources will be available both virtually and in person. The locations and times are as follows:

  • Word of Truth Church
    8201 Webb Ferrell Rd, Arlington, TX 76002
    Thursday, Oct. 7 starting at 7:25 a.m.
     
  • Mansfield ISD Center for the Performing Arts
    1110 W. Debbie Lane, Mansfield, TX 76063
    Thursday, Oct. 7 starting at 7:25 a.m.
     
  • Virtual Counseling
    Thursday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to noon

Impact to other Arlington schools

Several Arlington schools were placed on lockout, but the lockout has since been lifted at all campuses.

A lockout means that all exterior doors are locked from the inside.

The district said all students and teachers in those schools were safe and that classes would continue as police investigated the scene at Timberview. Police said they were also increasing their presence at all of the schools in Arlington.

"Arlington ISD officials have offered their full support to the Mansfield ISD, including mutual aid from the Arlington ISD security teams, counselors, crisis communications or any other requests Mansfield ISD makes," the Arlington ISD release said.

The investigation

Police are now working to piece together what led up to the shooting, including reviewing a video that began circulating on social media of a fight allegedly inside the school.

Listen below to police addressing the video:

On Thursday, police were able to confirm the validity of that video and said it did show the fight that immediately preceded the shooting. 

Arlington police said that the suspect, Simpkins, was visible in the video in a light sweatshirt. Police also told WFAA that the other person seen in the video with Simpkins was one of the victims that was shot.

Police said they are also looking into how the weapon was obtained and added that if an adult provided the suspect with the gun that they will also be held accountable.

Reaction from the family

Hours after the shooting, a representative for Simpkins' family said that he had been bullied and took action based off that. Police confirmed those claims are part of their investigation. 

While they said they are not justifying Simpkins’ actions, they said it takes everyone to stand together about bullying. 

Read more from the family.

Gov. Abbott reacts

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott addressed the Timberview High School shooting before a press conference at the border in the Mission on Wednesday afternoon. 

"We grieve for everyone who's been harmed or impacted by this in any way whatsoever," Abbott said. "We as a state, working with the local communities, will do everything possible to ensure that the shooter is swiftly and effectively prosecuted."

Abbott said he was confident that the suspect, identified by police as 18-year-old Timothy Simpkins, would be located by authorities soon. Simpkins was arrested a short time after.

Read more reaction from local leaders here.

Watch coverage below

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