A group of community and religious leaders gathered on Saturday to hold a prayer vigil following the shooting at Timberview High School last week.
The vigil was organized by the NAACP of Grand Prairie. Organization president Angela Luckey said Wednesday’s shooting affected many people in their community as there are students who live in Grand Prairie and attend school at Mansfield ISD, as well as members staff who work for the district but live in Grand Prairie.
“We want parents and students to know that number one, we have them in prayer… the children who have been hurt,” Luckey said. “Further, the NAACP Grand Prairie is really looking at this with serious concern.”
Wednesday’s shooting inside the school injured four people. Police pointed out this week that the shooting was not a random act of violence but began as a brawl between students.
Timothy Simpkins, 18, is accused of opening fire after a fight. A 15-year-old student and a teacher were shot dead, while another student was shot dead. Another injured teacher was treated and released on the spot.
The vigil on Saturday included prayers for the injured, the entire school community and the suspect. Pastor Lazerick Jackson of the Enforcement Worship Center led the prayer on Saturday. Her 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 are all human. Ultimately we all have children and at the end of the day we have to remember that those who were involved in the incident were children, ”Jackson said. “It’s our job as community leaders to just pray for everyone, no matter the situation, because, at the end of the day, there are two sides to every story. Somewhere in the middle is the truth.
Simpkins’ family have claimed to have been bullied and tried to defend themselves, while relatives of Zacchaeus Selby, a 15-year-old shooting victim, claim he was falsely portrayed as a bully who could having incited the shooting.
Vigil leaders addressed the issue of bullying in schools and highlighted the resources available.
“Let’s make sure these kids know that we care about us and that they can contact the NAACP or we strongly encourage them to contact local authorities,” Luckey said.
Regarding the incident at Timberview High School in particular, Luckey said she urged parents and families to have honest and open conversations with their children as they deal with the aftermath.
“My message to parents is to talk to your children. Find out how your child feels about the consequences, ”she said. “If you have any videos, no matter what you know that led to the shooting in Timberview, we ask parents to allow their children a voice. This is the time we need for them to work with the local authorities.
Simpkins is charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a lethal weapon. He posted $ 75,000 bail and was released from Tarrant County Jail on Thursday.