The attorney of the 18-year-old student accused in a shooting at Timberview High School criticized Arlington Police Chief Al Jones for “irresponsible and highly prejudicial” comments during Thursday’s safety and security town hall.
Jones on Thursday said the department had found no evidence of bullying leading up to the Oct. 6 shooting that injured four people, including a teacher.
Timothy Simpkins was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after he turned himself in the day of the shooting.
“This was not a bullying incident and I just want to take that narrative out of the equation so that we can move forward as a community,” Jones said during the town hall hosted by the Mansfield school district.
Simpkins’ family has maintained that he was bullied at Timberview High School since the beginning of the school year. In a Facebook post published by the family, they said he had “been beaten, taunted, and harassed on a daily basis.”
Kim T. Cole, the family attorney, said during a press conference Monday that Simpkins is entitled to a fair trial and that, because the investigation is ongoing, Jones’ comments were “irresponsible and highly prejudicial.”
“The role of law enforcement is not to steer an investigation in any particular direction,” Cole said. “The chief’s stated desire to change the narrative could very likely result a biased investigation tailored to suit his desired narrative.”
The Arlington Police Department said Tuesday that Jones stands behind his comments from the town hall.
“Based on the investigation, the department believes [Simpkins] was involved in high-risk activity — and it was because of that high-risk activity that the fight with the victim broke out that morning,” the department said in a statement.
On the morning of Oct. 6, Simpkins had been in a fight with 15-year-old student Zacchaeus Selby. According to court documents, Simpkins shot Selby after teachers broke up a fight between the two. A teacher also was wounded and another student was grazed by a bullet. A second teacher had minor injuries from a fall, police said.
Simpkins has been under house arrest and required to wear an ankle monitor under conditions of his bond since he was released on bail Oct. 7.