The lawyer for a student charged in a Texas high school shooting refuted police assertions that bullying did not lead to the Oct. 6 shooting, which injured a teacher and two other students.
Speaking Monday (Oct. 25) at a Dallas news conference, attorney Kim Cole said there’s evidence of pervasive bullying of her client, 18-year-old Timothy Simpkins, at Timberview High School, according to the local NBC station KXAS.
She said one of the people injured in the shooting, a 15-year old boy, bullied Simpkins, who was allegedly bullied in text messages, videos, emails and on social media.
The defense team was pushing back against the comments of Arlington Chief of Police Al Jones who said a week earlier at a town hall meeting that there was no evidence of bullying before the shooting.
"This was not a bullying incident. I just want to take that narrative out of the equation. Mr. Simpkins is involved in high-risk activity, and that high-risk activity led to the disagreement within the community," the police chief said, according to KDFW.
He added that the shooting stemmed from a disagreement between Simpkins and the victim.
Police charged Simpkins with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
The chief’s remarks are in stark contrast to what Simpkins’ family told reporters after the shooting.
Carol Harrison Lafayette, a family spokesperson, asserted that Simpkins brought a gun to school for protection, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.
A video circulating on social media before the shooting purported to show Simpkins in a fight. Lafayette said he was defending himself from an attacker, The Dallas Morning News reported. She said he was often targeted for wearing nice clothes, having a nice car and other things that they didn’t have.
“Recently he was ambushed by a group of young males outside of school, stripped of his clothing in front of a crowd of onlookers, and robbed of his money and possessions,” the family’s Facebook post said, according to The Dallas Morning News.