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A Texas high school student was shot to death by a bully who was seeking revenge against the teenager for intervening in a fight, police alleged.
Samuel Reynolds, 16, was fatally shot outside his home in Arlington around 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, police said. The shooting, which was captured by surveillance cameras, was supposedly in retaliation for an earlier encounter between the two boys.
“He [suspect] pulls out a handgun from the rear part of his pants he was wearing, points it at the victim and fires one round,” Lieutenant Christopher Cook told reporters Friday, KXAS-TV reported. “We did recover one spent shell casing. It’s a .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun.”
Cook said Reynolds prevented a fight from breaking out between the suspected shooter and a “smaller boy" in the days leading up to the shooting
“After he broke up the fight, he started having trouble with the suspect,” Cook said.
Due to the suspected shooter’s age, authorities haven’t released the teen’s name. The teen is believed to be between 13 and 15-years-old, KXAS-TV reported. However, investigators said they’re now focusing their investigation into how the accused gunman may have obtained the firearm used in the shooting.
“This senseless act of gun violence has no place in society and our hometown community,” Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson also said in a statement.
Reynolds, who was transported to the hospital after the shooting, was later pronounced dead by medical staff. He had been shot in the heart, his family said.
“A week prior Sam’s friend got beat up — he tried to confront him about fighting and beating up his buddy I guess, and [he] shot him,” Timothy Reynolds, the teen’s father, told Oxygen.com.
The devastated father, who’s struggling to process the loss of his son, said he’s proud, however, that Samuel son stood up to the reportedly vengeful teen.
“I’m terrified and my heart’s torn in half, man,” Reynolds said. “All I can be is be proud of my son.”
Hundreds attended a vigil for Samuel last week where the boy’s peers memorialized him as a selfless hero.
“I think this just encourages us to go out and to be like Sam and to follow the example Sam has set for us,” fellow student Russell Laniyan said at the vigil, KXAS-TV reported.
Arlington Independent School District said their school’s community was “deeply saddened” by Samuel’s death, in a statement posted to Twitter.
Reynolds said the suspected shooter isn’t known to the family. His son’s funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, he said.
Reynolds described Samuel as a “super friendly,” “go-getter” and an “awesome” son.
“He cared about everybody,” Reynolds added. “We raised him to always help out, lend a hand if you need it.”
Reynolds said he was only a teenager when he learned he was going to be a parent. Although he and Samuel’s mother separated at a young age and never married, the grieving father said their son had a loving childhood. The 16-year-old adored soccer, kayaking, go-karting, off-roading, and his pet turtles.
“He loved being outside,” his father said. “He loved turtles. That’s his thing.”
The 33-year-old father said his son also had a passion for cars. Reynolds, a product deviser at a local auto body, said Samuel often joined him at the Arlington shop where he works.
“He always worked on cars with me and my brother,” Reynolds explained.
The father-son pair were actively restoring a Chevrolet pick-up for Samuel, who was planning on taking his driver’s test in the coming weeks, his family said. The car-loving parent is still deciding what to do with his son’s truck, but anticipates he’ll turn it into a shrine of sorts.
“[We] would like to make it a project to stop the violence, take it to a car show, maybe some school,” Reynolds said. “We need to spread love not hate.”
Reynolds, who has two other sons, admitted he’ll miss Samuel’s laugh the most. He said Samuel would have turned 17 in May.
Friends of the family were also stunned to learn of the teen’s death.
“Sam was an amazing kid with a heart of gold,” Amber Rogers told Oxygen.com.
Rogers, a co-worker of the teen’s father, helped raise nearly $10,000 for the family on GoFundMe. She also called Sam a “sweet” kid.
“It breaks my heart to see how hateful some of these kids are and what this world is coming to,” Rogers added. “As a parent myself it terrifies me knowing this is the type of world that my kids are growing up in.”
Police said the suspected shooter has been charged with murder and is currently being held in a juvenile detention facility.
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