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TCU Student Killed in Random Shooting

TCU Student
Wes Smith | Image by St. George's Independent School

A Texas Christian University student was killed Friday morning in what appears to be an act of random violence in the Fort Worth Entertainment District.

Wes Smith, a junior majoring in finance and marketing at TCU, was shot three times around 1:07 a.m. and later died in the hospital from his injuries, according to the Fort Worth Police Department.

A suspect, now identified as 21-year-old Matthew Purdy, was arrested and later admitted to shooting Smith, per Fox 4 KDFW.

Purdy, who was out on probation for an aggravated robbery charge at the time of the shooting, reportedly spoke with Smith for a brief moment and then proceeded to shoot him three times on Bledsoe Street.

Fort Worth Police said Purdy shot Smith in the stomach and shoulder, then proceeded to shoot him once more in the back of the head when Smith was already on the ground. Purdy told police he fired the last shot to “make sure he was dead,” according to Fox 4.

Purdy did not say why he shot Smith, but he did tell officers that he did not know the college student.

Following the incident, Purdy allegedly fled from the scene and assaulted a woman in the process. Purdy later told police that he would have shot the woman as well if he had not run out of ammunition, per Fox 4.

The arrest affidavit states that police found “fresh blood” on Purdy’s backpack when he was arrested. Officers patted down Purdy but initially failed to find a gun.

However, as Purdy was sitting in the police cruiser, police realized he had a gun in his hands that he was attempting to throw out of the patrol car. Police believe the gun had been hidden in his pants, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Purdy is charged with murder and is being held at Tarrant County Jail on a $500,000 bond, per Fox 4.

Smith’s family released a statement¬†describing him as “truly an amazing and loving son, brother, cousin, and friend to so many.”

“We are heartbroken by his passing and ask for the space to grieve during this terribly difficult time,” continued the Smith family, per the Star-Telegram.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker posted on Twitter that Smith was a “remarkable young man who impacted countless lives including my own son as a football coach for his middle school team.”

Parker continued in another post that “despite increased security efforts in the West 7th area, this is a tragic setback.”

“The City and FWPD must work diligently together with bar and business owners in the area in the coming days to find additional solutions and continue collaborative efforts to make the area safer,” she added.

Such violent crime is relatively unusual for Downtown Fort Worth, which has seen significantly lower crime rates than nearby Dallas and has a specialized unit designated to manage crime in the area.

Crime rates in Dallas have continued to remain high, with 166 murders reported in the city so far this year. That is a 6.4% increase from 2022, according to the Dallas crime analytics dashboard. Fort Worth reported just 42 murders in the first half of 2023, according to the Fort Worth PD’s most recent quarterly crime report.

Efforts to fight crime in Dallas have been hampered by a shortage of police officers. A City report previously recommended roughly 4,000 officers to manage crime based on population size. Despite this recommendation, the City currently employs roughly 3,100 officers.

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