FORT WORTH, TX- The Texas Christian University (TCU) community and a family in mourning are grappling with the tragic loss of a college student. The victim was fatally shot in Texas this week in what appears to be a random act of violence. Wes Smith, a junior at TCU, was gunned down in the early hours of Friday while on a sidewalk in Fort Worth’s West 7th entertainment district, as per a police affidavit.
The suspect, apprehended soon after the incident, reportedly confessed to shooting Smith three times without any clear motive. Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker described the incident as a “senseless act of gun violence,” and praised Smith, who had significantly impacted many lives, including her son’s, as a middle school football coach.
Smith was originally from Germantown, Tennessee. He was pursuing a degree in finance and marketing at TCU, as indicated by his LinkedIn profile. His family described him as an “amazing and loving son, brother, cousin, and friend to so many,” and requested privacy to grieve during this challenging time.
During his freshman year, Smith had previously been a part of TCU’s Division I football team. The Horned Frogs observed a moment of silence during their pre-game prayer on Saturday in his honor. In a statement, TCU expressed their grief and solidarity with Smith’s family and friends.
Matthew Purdy, a 21-year-old, has been charged with the murder and is currently in custody, according to police records. It remains uncertain whether he has legal representation. An officer on patrol in the West 7th entertainment district heard the gunshots shortly after 1 a.m. local time on Friday and discovered Smith with multiple gunshot wounds. Smith was rushed to a local hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Surveillance footage revealed a man with a backpack approaching Smith and seemingly engaging him in conversation before Smith collapsed in the street. The man then stood over him before fleeing the scene. The assailant also struck a witness attempting to escape the scene on the back of the head with a firearm, causing a laceration, as per the affidavit.
Purdy was apprehended in the vicinity and is suspected to have concealed a 9 mm gun “in his crotch area,” which he allegedly disassembled while in the back of the patrol car. He had what appeared to be fresh blood on his backpack, according to the police. After being read his rights, Purdy agreed to give a statement in which he confessed to shooting Smith, a stranger to him, three times.