Mansfield ISD responded to an active shooter situation at Mansfield Timberview HS on Oct. 6. [File Photo] (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
Mansfield ISD responded to an active shooter situation at Mansfield Timberview HS on Oct. 6. [File Photo]

Photo by Courtesy Photo

Locked Down: Mansfield ISD Responds to Active Shooter

October 8, 2021

After an active shooter incident at Timberview High School on Oct. 6, Mansfield ISD hosted a town hall meeting to determine changing safety procedures. These changes include random metal detector searches, search dogs trained to detect different threats, ID enforcement and increased security personnel on all Mansfield ISD campuses. These changes will be implemented immediately.

Legacy Responds to Timberview Shooting with Modified Lockout Procedures

Administrators Stress Importance of Following Set Safety Protocols

Samuel Ramirez, 9, and other JROTC members walk in line to the cafeteria on Oct. 6, during modified lockout procedures. Legacy went into a modified lockout during the active shooter incident at Timberview High School.

Photo by Nicole Novak

Samuel Ramirez, 9, and other JROTC members walk in line to the cafeteria on Oct. 6, during modified lockout procedures. Legacy went into a modified lockout during the active shooter incident at Timberview High School.

During an active shooter incident Oct. 6 at Timberview High School, Legacy went on a modified lockout securing all 64 exterior doors from anyone entering and exiting campus and not allowing students to switch classrooms.

Because of the gunman’s social connections to Legacy, staff and administrators focused on securing the school. Students remained in second-period classrooms for more than four hours. Summit High School also went on a normal lockout until noon. Other Mansfield high schools did not enact lockout or lockdown procedures.

The alleged gunman, Timberview senior Timothy George Simpkins, consulted with an attorney then turned himself into the Arlington Police Department shortly before 1:30 p.m. Officials lifted Legacy’s lockout soon after his arrest. Simpkins was charged with three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and was booked in the Arlington City Jail with bail set at $75,000. Simpkins was released on bail Oct. 7. 

Dr. Shelly Butler, principal, says she kept the safety and security of students and staff at the forefront of her mind.

“You just jump into action and feelings are gone. It’s just [following] what the rules say to do,” Dr. Butler said. “I heard he was at large, and that there’s a possibility of a social connection with a student at Legacy High School, so we wanted to be extra cautious.”

Shortly after 9:45 a.m., a school resource officer advised Facilities Associate Principal, John Contreras, of the incident at Timberview and began implementing lockout procedures at Legacy as details of the shooting developed. A few minutes later, Mr. Contreras made the initial lockout announcement to students and staff. 

“I felt emotional about it, but knew that I had trained for this for years,” Mr. Contreras said, “I knew exactly what to do. I was calm, collected and focused on getting the kids and the teachers into a lockout.”

“I felt emotional about it, but knew that I had trained for this for years,” Mr. Contreras said, “I knew exactly what to do. I was calm, collected and focused on getting the kids and the teachers into a lockout.

— Facilities Associate Principal, John Contreras

 

Mr. Contreras announced the lockout on the intercom and stressed “this is not a drill.” Senior Madeleine Gilbert sat in Aquatics with Coach Chad Redwine when the announcement came on. 

“I looked around to see if anyone shared my initial reactions. It felt like a movie I never thought I’d be cast in,” Gilbert said.

While students focused on keeping each other comfortable and safe, administrators created a plan for students to eat lunch as efficiently and safely as possible. 

“I wanted to do an elementary style [lunch] where teachers walk you and bring you back because I didn’t want people trying to bolt out of the building or let people in the building,” Dr. Butler said. “When students are here, I’m going to protect you. I’m going to go to the highest degree of protection. It may be overprotective, but I’d rather do that than underreact.”

During the lockout, parents expressed concern on social media about Legacy’s communication to parents. 

“This all happened so fast. We were utilizing all of our staff,” Mr. Contreras said. “None of us were just sitting behind a computer working. We were all focused on lockout procedures.”

Parents, concerned about their child’s safety at school, look to review current safety policies and procedures for Mansfield ISD. Dr. Butler asks students in the meantime to stay diligent in keeping doors locked, not allowing adults or students into the building unless through the proper front entry and report anything suspicious to Crime Stoppers

In a district update, Dr. Kimberly Cantu, Mansfield ISD Superintendent, said the safety and security of students and staff is a top priority.

“What happened can only be described as devastating, and we are providing the support needed in order for students, staff and families to process it in a healthy manner,” Dr. Cantu said. 

Aside from the fears caused by rumors circulating, the lack of Wi-Fi in several schools across the district created additional stress in students, as they were unable to communicate with friends and parents. Mansfield ISD Technology confirmed the outages in over a dozen schools throughout the district were unrelated to the shooting. At this time, the cause of these outages is unknown.

“I literally did nothing,” Gilbert said. “I couldn’t use TikTok, YouTube, Snapchat or Instagram. It was frustrating. I just talked to my coach and his two kids who eventually came into the class.”

Around 1:30 p.m. issues with the Wi-Fi were resolved and the suspect was in Arlington Police custody. Shortly after, the administration lifted the lockout protocol. Students then moved to fourth-period classes while over 180 parents came to Legacy to check out their children. Counselors, secretaries and other non-teaching staff assisted the attendance office with checkout procedures.

“We had a checkout process for our parents because we have to. It’s protocol,” Dr. Butler said. “It was like when people have a new baby in the hospital. They put a band on the baby’s arm and a band on the parent’s arm. If the bands don’t match, you can’t have that baby. That’s exactly what we did.”

“I feel I ultimately am responsible for every single person [on this campus] custodians, kids, teachers and staff members,” Dr. Butler said. “I am the parent when you’re here, and so I’m going to protect you.

— Principal Dr. Shelly Butler

To pass the time during the lockout, students played cards and watched movies such as “Finding Nemo” and “Beetlejuice.” 

“I think the teachers did what they could to keep us calm considering the circumstances,” Gilbert said. “It took nearly an hour before being able to leave the campus parking lot, and I felt like it could’ve been more efficient. That wasn’t in the administrator’s hands.”

The district canceled Timberview’s classes Oct. 7 and students will return to school after the holiday break. Extra officers were on duty at all other MISD campuses Oct. 7, as an extra security measure. 

“I feel I ultimately am responsible for every single person [on this campus] custodians, kids, teachers and staff members,” Dr. Butler said. “I am the parent when you’re here, and so I’m going to protect you.”

Sit, Watch and Wait: Facing The Unexpected

Leilani+Fierro%2C+staff+writer%2C+had+a+personal+connection+to+the+tragedy+at+Timberview

Photo by Staff Photo

Leilani Fierro, staff writer, had a personal connection to the tragedy at Timberview

My mom lived through the Timberview Shooting that took place on Oct. 6. Just like everyone else, I always thought that could never happen to me or to anyone I loved until it did. Thankfully my mom made it out safely, but the effects of it impacted my life.   

The morning of the shooting I sat in my second period when I received a text from my mom saying “I have something to tell you and I don’t want you to freak out. We are in lockdown. A student has a gun.” My heart dropped as I read those words over and over again as if they would suddenly change. But they did not and as my classmates began to whisper it started to become real. 

Text messages from my friends started pouring in with so many questions that I knew I did not want to face the answers to. I did not want to accept the fact that my mom, my best friend and my rock, was inside the same building as the shooter. I wanted to put on a brave face for everyone around me but as the whispers turned into class discussions I could not help but begin to panic. I excused myself from the classroom to escape and attempt to control my mind that ran wild.

I had no destination in mind. I just knew I needed silence. As I walked the hall, I was quickly met by a friend who knew my mom worked at Timberview. On separate ends of the hallway, I was able to keep it together until we embraced in a hug. I just broke down into tears and finally admitted to myself that I felt scared. 

Updates from my mom continued and she told me she was in a closet with other staff and students. Knowing she was not alone and hiding brought the slightest bit of relief.

My English teacher found me and my friend in the hallway and allowed us into her classroom. She turned on the news and the three of us watched nervously as cops surrounded Timberview. I felt so helpless knowing that I could not do anything but sit, watch and wait.

It is not hard to take time for granted. As I sat waiting for my mom to get safely out of the school, I really thought about if this would have ended differently would I be able to say I cherished every moment I had. Not just with her, but with all the people that I care about.

— Leilani Fierro

News of the shooter no longer in the building calmed my nerves. But then the thoughts of “what if” circled my mind. The morning before school started, I was in the shower when my mom left for work, when she left we exchanged “I love yous” and headed our separate ways. 

These questions lingered in my mind as I watched everything unfold, what if something worse had happened to her during the shooting? What if that was the last time I saw my mom? I didn’t even get to give her a hug. How would I have lived with myself knowing that if I would have just woken up a few minutes earlier I could have given her one. 

It is not hard to take time for granted. As I sat waiting for my mom to get safely out of the school, I really thought about if this would have ended differently would I be able to say I cherished every moment I had. Not just with her, but with all the people that I care about. 

My mom called me when she was safely out of the school at around 1 p.m. I could fully calm down knowing the nightmare ended. My dad and I picked her up from the Performing Arts Center around 5 p.m. Seeing her walk out of the building was the biggest relief. I jumped out of the car and gave her the biggest hug.

It is so easy to get caught up in our daily routines, that we look past the time we have together. We are all just trying to get through the day that we forget to actually live through it. Sometimes even just taking that second to put everything down and admire the people around you, taking the time to remind them you love them and giving them that extra hug will make all the difference.

Mansfield ISD Hosts Town Hall Safety Meeting

Parents%2C+students+and+staff+sit+in+on+the+Town+Hall+meeting+on+October+21+at+the+Jim+Vaszauskas+Center+for+Performing+Arts.

Photo by Courtesy Photo

Parents, students and staff sit in on the Town Hall meeting on October 21 at the Jim Vaszauskas Center for Performing Arts.

Mansfield ISD hosted a safety and security town hall meeting on Oct. 21 to discuss safety topics at the Jim Vaszauskas Center for Performing Arts. Panelists included Arlington Police Chief Alexander Jones, Mansfield Police Chief Tracy Aaron and, MISD’s Director of Safety Security and Threat Management, Bruno Dias. They spoke about district protocols and new measures enacted after the shooting at Timberview High School on Oct. 6.

Prior to the incident, MISD safety and security protocols included cameras, duress alarms, control points and multiview camera technology on all campuses. The district also enhanced visitor screening protocols when campus doorbells were installed. MISD currently manages over 2,200 cameras, 500 access points, and 100 video intercoms and panic alarms in school buildings.

At the town hall, Dias presented information saying the district leads in behavioral threat assessment and management. The district has developed numerous management systems including a reporting mechanism where teachers, students and community members can report concerning behaviors. School officials also monitor students’ accounts for concerning communication and searches on school-issued devices and accounts. 

Dias discussed the safety and security protocols in place and highlighted recent changes implemented on Oct. 14. He said the public often is not aware of the threats in schools because they’re handled immediately.

“Keep in mind that what we prevent will not make tomorrow’s news cycle because when we prevent it nothing bad happens,” Dias said in his presentation.

In response to the shooting, MISD implemented additional temporary precautions. These include increased personal security on all campuses, including proactive monitoring of video systems and deployment of K-9s trained to detect gunpowder on all high school campuses including Ben Barber Innovation Academy. They also use metal detector wands for checks at all high schools entrances. Cheif Aaron said students are randomly selected for the checks from an online system Mansfield Police uses.

After MISD presented safety and security information, Arlington Police Chief Alexander Jones said the investigation into the shooting at Timberview High School was ongoing but made it clear the shooting was not related to bullying. 

“There is no evidence of bullying prior to the day or the day of the shooting,” Jones said. “[Timothy Simpkins] was involved with high-risk activity.” 

After the panel presentation, they opened the floor for questions to the parents, staff and students in attendance. Those attending asked specific questions about the Timberview shooting including where the gun was found, why only some schools were locked down and why the internet went down at several campuses across the district that day. Questions went on for more than two hours. View the meeting here. 

“We did not cut the WiFi off during the shooting, there was a lot of systems being utilized and there was [an] overload,” Superintendent Dr. Kimberley Cantu said.

Cheif Aaron emphasized the partnership between parents in the district and the city of Mansfield. He encourages the community to continue to look for those opportunities to engage, inform and let our parents have voices so we can stay ahead of events that occur.  

In an email to the district, Dias said MISD has reestablished the Safety Procedure Planning Committee (SPPC) and the first meeting will be Nov. 4. He said the SPPC will review the feedback and suggestions received over the past weeks via email, phone calls, and the Safety and Security Town Hall meeting. The SPPC will compile the information, seek out best practices and develop recommendations to take to the district’s School Safety and Security Committee. The SPPC will meet every other week for at least three meetings, with a fourth meeting scheduled if needed. 

Elizabeth Carmody, Executive Director of Communications & Marketing said the goal is to propose updates to the 2018 Safety Procedure Plan to ensure safer MISD schools and facilities.  

“These measures are not permanent solutions,” Carmody said, “but with the help of the community’s feedback and our committee recommendations, we will solidify a plan that will ensure our students, staff and visitors are entering a secure and welcoming learning environment every day.”

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