A group of community and faith leaders gathered Saturday to host a prayer vigil in the wake of the shooting at Timberview High School last week.
The vigil was organized by the NAACP of Grand Prairie. Organization president Angela Luckey said the shooting Wednesday hit home for many people in their community as there are students who live in Grand Prairie and attend school in Mansfield ISD, along with staff members who work for the district but live in Grand Prairie.
“We want the parents and the students to know that number one, we have them in prayer... the kids that were wounded,” Luckey said. “Also, NAACP Grand Prairie is really looking at this with serious concerns.”
The shooting Wednesday inside the school injured four people. Police emphasized this week, the shooting was not a random act of violence but started as a fight between students.
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Eighteen-year-old Timothy Simpkins is accused of opening fire after a fight. A 15-year-old student and a teacher were shot, while another student was grazed by a bullet. Another injured teacher was treated and released at the scene.
The vigil Saturday included prayers for those who were injured, the entire school community and the suspect. Pastor Lazerick Jackson with the Enforcement Worship Center Church led the prayer Saturday. His niece and nephew are students at Timberview High School and were inside the school during the shooting.
“The main message behind my prayer is that we all are human. In the end, we all have children and in the end, we have to remember those who were involved in the incident were children,” Jackson said. “It’s our job as community leaders to just pray for everybody no matter what the situation is because, in the end, there’s two sides to every story. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.”
Simpkins’ family has claimed was the victim of bullying and was trying to defend himself, while relatives of the 15-year-old shooting victim Zacchaeus Selby claim he has falsely been portrayed as a bully who may have incited the shooting.
Leaders at the vigil addressed the issue of bullying in schools and highlighted available resources.
“Let’s make sure that these kids know we care and that they can reach out either to the NAACP or we strongly encourage them to reach out to the local authorities,” Luckey said.
On the incident at Timberview High School specifically, Luckey said she urged parents and families to have honest and open conversations with their children processing the aftermath.
“My message to the parents is to talk to your children. Find out how your child is feeling with the aftermath,” she said. “If you have videos, whatever it is that you know that led up to the shooting at Timberview, we’re asking the parents to allow their kids to speak out. This is the time that we need for them to work with local authorities.”
Simpkins is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He posted a $75,000 bond and was released from the Tarrant County Jail on Thursday.