An Arlington, Texas teenager shot and killed this week intervened in a bullying incident between the suspected shooter and another boy days prior to his tragic death, police revealed Friday.
Family members identified the victim as 16-year-old Samuel Reynolds. He was a sophomore at Arlington High School, his mother told NBC 5.
Police say it was around 4:30 p.m. Thursday when Reynolds was shot outside his home on the 900 block of Benge Drive. The suspect is described as being between “13 and 15-years-old” and also lives in the apartment complex. Due to his age, investigators cannot reveal his identity.
We’re told he initially denied any involvement in Reynolds’ death, but Lt. Christopher Cook with the Arlington Police Department said video cameras around the complex captured the entire incident.
Seconds before he shot, Reynolds was seen walking between two buildings.
“He [suspect] pulls out a handgun from the rear part of his pants he was wearing, points it at the victim and fires one round,” Lt. Cook told reporters Friday. “We did recover one spent shell casing. It’s a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.”
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Officials confirmed Friday the suspect is also a student within the Arlington School District but added, he does not attend Arlington High School.
Cook said Reynolds’ family told investigators he broke up a fight between the suspect and a “smaller boy” who was being picked on days prior to the shooting.
“After he broke up the fight, he started having trouble with the suspect,” Cook said.
Reynolds’ mother did not want to be interviewed on camera but described her son as a sweet and compassionate person with a love for soccer. He played for teams through Arlington, she said.
She told NBC 5, she advised her son to stay away from the suspect following the bullying incident.
Counselors were available Friday at Arlington High School for any students who needed to talk. Sophomore Malyque Flood said he did not know Reynolds well but offered his condolences to his family.
“It makes no sense at all,” Flood said. “I feel real sorry and upset about what happened and am open to any situation or conversation that they need. No mother, no parent should go through that.”
Friends and family gathered at Arlington High Friday night to remember Reynolds.
They say it was in his nature to put others ahead of himself. One friend says Reynolds once gave him the shoes off his feet during a soccer game; allowing him to play while Reynolds sat out.
“I think this just encourages us to go out and to be like Sam and to follow the example that Sam has set for us,” said student Russell Laniyan.
It’s why none of them were surprised to hear that he defended someone by standing up to a bully. They say it’s agonizing to think that his protective nature is what cost him his life.
“He obviously fought until the end. He cared about people and he did what he thought was right,” said family friend Shay Tyes.
As of Friday, Cook said they have not recovered the weapon and are still canvassing the area where Reynolds was shot. Investigators are also trying to figure out where the suspect got the weapon from.
“That’s something we want answers for. We are sick and tired of children in our community coming into contact with firearms and possessing them and using them in these types of manners,” he said. “If an adult has provided this firearm, you can certainly bet that we’re going to pursue them vigorously because firearms and kids – they just don’t mix.”
The suspect has been transported to a juvenile detention center, Cook said. He currently faces a murder charge, though whether he is tried as an adult or child will be decided by juvenile court.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support Reynolds’ family.