Two churches along Davis Drive in Arlington held space for community members and Lamar High School students and staff to grieve after one of its students shot and killed a fellow student and injured another Monday morning.
Lamar freshman Audrey Arredondo cradled a white votive candle outside Most Blessed Sacrament Arlington. She showed up early for class Monday and spent three hours on lockdown as staff prepared to release students to parents.
“You never expect something like that to happen to you,” Arredondo said.
A 15-year-old student fatally shot a peer and injured another on the steps outside the school entrance. Family members on GoFundMe identified the victim as Ja’Shawn Poirier. The 16-year-old died from gunshot wounds at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, according to Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s records.
Police said Monday they have not identified a motive and declined to describe the type of gun used.
David Wilbanks, an Arlington school district board member, said he feels for both Poirier and the family of the student who killed him.
“For some of us, we knew that it was always possible, but we took solace in the fact that this hasn’t ended up on our doorsteps and here it is,” he said.
For some in attendance, the tragedy is one all too familiar.
“I was just thinking, ‘Not again, not again,’ ” said Karen Johnson with Mothers of Murdered Angels outside New World United Methodist Church. She’s part of a nonprofit that helps grieving families who have lost family to gun violence.
Johnson said Lamar students and staff should get to the heart of issues students face and invite them to keep an open dialogue.
“If you show them you care and you love them, you will be surprised of what type of information that you will receive from them,” she said.
Classes at Lamar High School restart Wednesday. The district will offer counseling services to students and staff who need it.
The shooting suspect appeared before Judge Alex Kim Tuesday afternoon, according to KDFW. Arlington police claim the student pulled a gun from his backpack and aimed it at students waiting outside around 6:55 a.m. Monday.
Officers found shell casings from the suspected weapon in the backpack, as well as the suspect’s home. The student will be held in detention, according to the report.
But for now, “There’s so many unknowns,” said the Rev. Brandie Spletzer of Epworth United Methodist Church during a prayer.
“We wonder: Why? Why does this keep happening? When will students and staff feel safe again?” she said.
Got a tip? Email Kailey Broussard at email@example.com. You can follow Kailey on Twitter @KaileyBroussard.
KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.