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Lawyers insist suspect was bullied before Arlington school shooting, though unconfirmed by police

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

The attorneys say they plan to ask the court for a gag order to prevent officials from talking publicly about the case.
Timothy Simpkins lawyers
Timothy Simpkins’ lawyers from left, MarQuetta Clayton and Kim Cole during a press conference to address Arlington police chief Al Jones’ statement in Dallas on Monday, October 25, 2021. Chief Jones said the shooting that occurred at Timberview high school was not a bullying incident and he seeks to remove it from the narrative. (Lola Gomez/The Dallas Morning News)(Lola Gomez / Staff Photographer)

By Maggie Prosser

Lawyers representing the suspect in a Timberview High School shooting earlier this month reiterated allegations Monday that he had been bullied before the incident.

The assertions came during a news conference, called days after Arlington’s police chief said the 18-year-old, Timothy George Simpkins, had been involved in “high-risk activity” that led to a disagreement at the school before the shooting. The chief said he couldn’t discuss details about whether there was evidence of bullying.

Simpkins is under house arrest after he was released from Tarrant County jail on $75,000 bail for three charges of aggravated assault in the Oct. 6 shooting.

On Monday, his lawyers and family said they had “extensive” evidence to back up their claims that he had been bullied. The attorneys, though, declined to share any of that evidence, which they said they expect to present at trial.

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Simpkins’ family has said he was “threatened, beaten and harassed” since the beginning of the school year, and his lawyers said he was bullied through social media, text messages, emails and video.

Four people were injured in the shooting, including a critically wounded 15-year-old who was released from a hospital last week. His family could not be reached for comment Monday but has said he “does not have a bone in his body to bully anyone” and has a “heart of gold.”

“There was pervasive bullying at Timberview High,” attorney Kim Cole said. “… [Parents] should demand Timberview High address the bullying there on campus because that is the only way they will be assured of their children’s safety.”

Cole also denied that her client had engaged in any “high-risk activity” before the shooting.

“He was simply sitting in a classroom doing his schoolwork,” she said.

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Another attorney for Simpkins, MarQuetta Clayton, urged the police chief and other officials not to make public statements that could taint a jury and interfere with her client’s right to a fair trial.

The lawyers said they expect to ask the court for a gag order to prevent such commentary.

“This investigation is still underway, and an independent investigation is being done,” Clayton said. “It is impossible for anyone to know all that was involved, let alone what precipitated the incident.”

The lawyers said Simpkins had been “brutally attacked” in a fight that was captured on video before the shooting, but court documents say that fight had been broken up before he retrieved a gun from his backpack and opened fire in a classroom.

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