Cheldon Barnes, Timberview High School student, was in his English class when a shooting started Wednesday morning. He heard screams from two doors down that someone had a gun, followed by the distinctive pop of gunshots.
His teacher turned the lights off, locked the door and told the class to take cover under their desks.
“It’s crazy,” Barnes said. “I never thought a school shooting would come to my school.”
Timberview High School students and their parents reunited in south Arlington after a fight led to the shooting that injured four people. The school was evacuated and about 1,700 students were transported by bus to the Mansfield Independent School District Center for the Performing Arts where a reunification center was set up and parents could pick up their children.
Calls to police came in at 9:15 a.m., said Tim Ciesco, Arlington Police Department media relations coordinator. Three of the four injured were hospitalized.
Jerrod Nedd, Timberview High School student, said he was shaken up and on edge after the incident. He remembered the terror in his classroom when he texted his mom that he was OK.
“All I heard were screams, bangs and after that, followed by running,” Nedd said.
His mother, Michelle Nedd, was at work when she received the text, and she immediately left to get to her son. Her first thought was to make sure he was safe, she said.
“That’s all I needed to know, ‘Is he OK?’” Michelle Nedd said. “I didn’t even want to know what happened, as long as he can come home.”
Suspect Timothy George Simpkins, 18, turned himself into Arlington Police Department several hours after he fled from the school, Ciesco said. Simpkins faces three counts of aggravated assault with a gun.
Counseling services were available for students and parents at the reunification location. All Mansfield ISD after-school activities were canceled. The district has also canceled Thursday classes for Timberview High School and the Early College High School.
During the incident, 15 Arlington ISD campuses in the area were put on a perimeter lockout, meaning no one could enter from the outside, according to an Arlington ISD email to parents.
Lockouts were lifted once the suspect was apprehended.
The community took to social media as events unfolded to express condolences.
“We are saddened by the events that unfolded today at Timberview High School,” the official UTA Twitter account stated. “Our thoughts are with the students, faculty, staff and families.”
The incident has attracted national and local attention including Gov. Greg Abbott, who released a statement following the shooting. Abbott said he has offered Mayor Jim Ross any assistance the state can provide.
“Today’s shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington is a shocking tragedy,” State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, said in a press release. “Let’s all pray for the four victims.”