Timothy George Simpkins walked out of the Tarrant County jail on Thursday, and into a white Mercedes sedan, without talking to reporters. He was released by County Magistrate Judge Brooke Panuthos into house arrest enforced by a GPS monitor, and told he had to undergo drug and alcohol testing and stay away from four individuals the media have identified as victims of Wednesday’s incident.
Two of the victims were still in the hospital as of Thursday, including a 15-year-old boy in critical condition and a 25-year-old man in good condition, the authorities said. The latter has been identified as Calvin Pettitt, an English teacher who jumped in to break up the fight between Simpkins and another teen, documented in a video that made rounds on social media.
Pettitt was shot in the back and suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung, according to police and his family.
A teenage girl was grazed by a bullet and has been discharged from the hospital. The fourth person injured was a pregnant woman who fell during the scramble triggered by the shooting. She received medical care on the scene.
The bond documents obtained by local media identify the other victims as Zacchaeus Selby, Eyimofe Olawepo and Pariesa Altma. Simpkins was given a restraining order and told to avoid contact with all four of them.
Arlington police confirmed that the video showing Simpkins and another teen – presumably Selby – getting into a fistfight at school was authentic. After the fight was broken up, Simpkins pulled a gun from his backpack and opened fire, striking three people, according to his arrest warrant.
Simpkins was identified based on the video and witness testimonies. Police spent several hours looking for him, before apprehending him “without incident.” He was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
His family and their attorney, however, insist that he was acting in self-defense and that Wednesday’s incident wasn’t a “standard issue” school shooting.
“There are numerous school shootings that have occurred across this country which are tragic. All school shootings are tragic,” said Kim T. Cole, a civil rights attorney apparently representing Simpkins’s family. In this case, Cole argued, Simpkins wasn’t someone who decided to shoot up the school at random.
“So I request the media correct their narrative with regard to what happened, and that you all respect the family’s privacy,” she added.
Cole most recently represented Crystal Mason, a Tarrant County woman sentenced to five years in prison for voting while ineligible in 2016, arguing that she was a victim of racism.
She also sued the nearby city of McKinney and its police in 2017, over the “racist” incident when a police officer broke up a neighborhood pool party.
Simpkins’s family told reporters he was being robbed and bullied because the family was “blessed” financially, and was just “trying to protect himself.”
Back in 2014, a Tarrant County judge agreed with attorneys for another teen, Ethan Couch, that his upbringing in a wealthy family prevented him from knowing right from wrong. Couch’s ‘affluenza’ defense got him probation for killing four people while driving drunk, but he was eventually arrested for violating that parole by going to Mexico, and ended up serving two years in prison.
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