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Police arrest suspect in shooting at Mansfield ISD's Timberview High School

A police officer is decked out in black gear as he walks in the parking lot next to an armored vehicle.
LM Otero
Mansfield ISD has set up a reunification point for parents and students at the Center for Performing Arts located at 1110 W. Debbie Ln.

Four people were injured in a shooting at a North Texas high school Wednesday morning. Three people were taken to local hospitals. One was in critical condition Wednesday afternoon.

Arlington police have arrested a suspect in the shooting at Timberview High School and charged them with multiple counts of aggravated assault with a gun.

The suspect, Timberview student Timothy Simpkins, was released from Tarrant County Jail Thursday afternoon on bond.

Carol Harrison Lafayette, who is speaking for the suspect's family, said that Simpkins had been bullied and robbed at school.

“There is no justification of anybody … being hurt,” she said, adding, “We have to take a look at the fact that bullying is real. And it takes us all. And I do apologize. We ask as a family for forgiveness of any type of hurt.”

Of those injured in the incident, a 15-year-old boy was in critical condition and a 25-year-old man was in good condition. A teenage girl was treated for minor abrasions and was released from the hospital Wednesday night, police said.

A fourth person was hurt but did not require treatment at a hospital. Three of the four injured were students, according to police.

Timberview serves about 1,900 students in the ninth through 12th grades. The sprawling complex opened in 2004. Classes are cancelled for the rest of the week.

Eleventh-grader Gabrielle Mitchell was going about her regular schedule when the active shooter lockdown was announced.

"I thought it was a drill because they're always talking about drills," she said. "But no, it wasn't a drill, so I just sat there."

Her mother Kia Mitchell had a much less calm perspective.

"I feel blessed, relief, that I have my child with me," Mitchell said. "But that initial text from her is really heartbreaking, just to know your child is in a situation you don't know what's going on, and you can't get to them right away."

Arlington Assistant Police Chief Kevin Kolbye said authorities believe the shooting stemmed from a classroom fight.

“This is not a random act of violence,” he said at press conference before the arrest. “This is not somebody attacking our school.”

Police said they arrested the suspect, 18-year-old Simpkins, "without incident." Simpkins was identified based on a tip from a 911 call.

Yellow police tape cordons off space outside a building where people wait to be reunited with their students.
Miranda Suarez
Families wait for students to arrive and be released at Mansfield ISD's Center for the Performing Arts.

After news of the shooting spread, the school district announced parents should go to the Center for Performing Arts at 1110 W. Debbie Ln where students were bussed as they were released.

Justin Rockhold said he rushed to pick up his son, who is a ninth-grader at the school.

"It was one of those deals where, you know, I'm prior military so active situations are not unaccustomed to me, but obviously you don't want it for your kids," Rockhold said. "So as soon as I heard from him, I was texting him I just told him ... keep your head down, do not move and stay put."

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference in Mission Wednesday that he'd been in touch with Arlington officials.

"I've had the opportunity to talk to the mayor in Arlington and to talk to Steve McCraw, the director of Texas Department of Public Safety, to make sure that the state of Texas is using the Texas Department of Public Safety, as well as any and all other tools to assist Arlington and the surrounding communities," Abbott said.

The shooting happened just days after a shooting at a Houston charter school that injured an administrator. Texas’ deadliest school shooting occurred in May of 2018 when a then-17-year-old armed with a shotgun and a pistol opened fire at Santa Fe High School near Houston, killing 10 people, most of whom were students.

Timberview's is the 94th K-12 school shooting in the U.S. since the school year started in August, according to the Naval Postgraduate School's K-12 School Shooting database

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Corrected: October 8, 2021 at 8:50 AM CDT
A previous version of this story used an incorrect name to refer to the Naval Postgraduate school.