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'Not again, not again.' Arlington community mourns victim in Lamar High School shooting

Arlington community members gathered around the memorial garden of Most Blessed Catholic Church for a vigil on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 after a shooting at Lamar High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. The crowd sang Amazing Grace together and prayed upon the community. A prayer service was held afterwards inside the New World Methodist Church.
Emily Nava
/
KERA
People gathered outside Most Blessed Sacrament Memorial Garden in Arlington to offer prayers March 21, 2023. The vigils followed a day after a Lamar High School student was fatally shot by a peer on the steps of the school.

Parishoners and community at two Arlington churches mourned the shooting at Lamar High School that left one dead and another injured early Monday, March 20, 2023.

Two churches along Davis Drive in Arlington held space for community members and Lamar High School students and staff to grieve after one of its students shot and killed a fellow student and injured another Monday morning.

Lamar freshman Audrey Arredondo cradled a white votive candle outside Most Blessed Sacrament Arlington. She showed up early for class Monday and spent three hours on lockdown as staff prepared to release students to parents.

“You never expect something like that to happen to you,” Arredondo said.

Arlington community members gathered around the memorial garden of Most Blessed Catholic Church for a vigil on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 after a shooting at Lamar High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. The crowd sang Amazing Grace together and prayed upon the community. A prayer service was held afterwards inside the New World Methodist Church.
Emily Nava
/
KERA
Arlington community members gathered around the memorial garden of Most Blessed Catholic Church for a vigil on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 after a shooting at Lamar High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. The crowd sang Amazing Grace together and prayed upon the community. A prayer service was held afterwards inside the New World Methodist Church.

A 15-year-old student fatally shot a peer and injured another on the steps outside the school entrance. Family members on GoFundMe identified the victim as Ja’Shawn Poirier. The 16-year-old died from gunshot wounds at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s records.

Police said Monday they have not identified a motive and declined to describe the type of gun used.

David Wilbanks, an Arlington school district board member, said he feels for both Poirier and the family of the student who killed him.

“For some of us, we knew that it was always possible, but we took solace in the fact that this hasn’t ended up on our doorsteps and here it is,” he said.

For some in attendance, the tragedy is one all too familiar.

“I was just thinking, ‘Not again, not again,’ ” said Karen Johnson with Mothers of Murdered Angels outside New World United Methodist Church. She’s part of a nonprofit that helps grieving families who have lost family to gun violence.

Johnson said Lamar students and staff should get to the heart of issues students face and invite them to keep an open dialogue.

“If you show them you care and you love them, you will be surprised of what type of information that you will receive from them,” she said.

Arlington community members gathered around the memorial garden of Most Blessed Catholic Church for a vigil on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 after a shooting at Lamar High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. The crowd sang Amazing Grace together and prayed upon the community. A prayer service was held afterwards inside the New World Methodist Church.
Emily Nava
/
KERA
Arlington community members gathered around the memorial garden of Most Blessed Catholic Church for a vigil on Tuesday, March 21, 2023 after a shooting at Lamar High School on Monday, March 20, 2023. The crowd sang Amazing Grace together and prayed upon the community. A prayer service was held afterwards inside the New World Methodist Church.

Classes at Lamar High School restart Wednesday. The district will offer counseling services to students and staff who need it.

The shooting suspect appeared before Judge Alex Kim Tuesday afternoon, according to KDFW. Arlington police claim the student pulled a gun from his backpack and aimed it at students waiting outside around 6:55 a.m. Monday.

Officers found shell casings from the suspected weapon in the backpack, as well as the suspect’s home. The student will be held in detention, according to the report.

But for now, “There’s so many unknowns,” said the Rev. Brandie Spletzer of Epworth United Methodist Church during a prayer.

“We wonder: Why? Why does this keep happening? When will students and staff feel safe again?" she said.

Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at kbroussard@kera.org. You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, considermaking a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Kailey Broussard covers Arlington for KERA News and The Arlington Report. Broussard has covered Arlington since 2020 and began at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram before joining the station in 2021.