A Texas Christian University student was shot and killed outside a bar in Fort Worth by a man who admitted to the act, but couldn’t provide a clear reason why, according to a police affidavit.
Wes Smith was standing on a sidewalk near an area bar on Friday around 1 a.m., when the suspect, Matthew Purdy Jr., 21, who was wearing a white T-shirt, dark pants, red ball cap and carrying a backpack, approached him and appeared to speak to Smith, surveillance video reviewed by police showed. After a brief moment, Smith fell to the ground and Purdy stood over him before running off, the affidavit said.
A witness described seeing the incident unfold, police said, and as witnesses ran, Purdy hit one person in the back of the head with the gun, according to arrest documents.
Police were able to stop and detain Purdy who appeared to have “fresh blood” on his backpack, the affidavit states. While he was being detained in the back of a patrol car, Purdy dismantled a 9 mm handgun and threw pieces of it outside the car, according to the affidavit – officers believed he had the firearm hidden.
Purdy told police he didn’t know Smith and couldn’t provide a motive for shooting him but did ask if he knew his father, who was assaulted in the area in the past, arrest documents stated.
Smith was shot three times: in the stomach, the shoulder, and the head, according to the affidavit. Purdy told police he shot Smith in the head “because he wanted to make sure he was dead,” the affidavit said, and would have fired more shots “if he hadn’t run out of ammunition.”
Purdy was on probation for aggravated robbery and has since been charged with murder and his bond has been set at $500,000, police and Tarrant County Jail records show. He was booked into the Tarrant County Jail on Friday afternoon. It’s unclear whether he has an attorney.
‘A remarkable young man’
Smith, a Tennessee native, attended St. George’s Independent School in Memphis for high school, where he was student body president and a “stand-out basketball, lacrosse and football player” who “excelled in every way – as a scholar, an athlete and a leader,” the school said in an online statement.
The junior at TCU, a private college three miles outside of downtown Fort Worth, was double-majoring in finance and marketing, according to Kathy Cavins-Tull, TCU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. He was also a member of the 2021-22 TCU Horned Frogs football team as a freshman, school records show.
The university is “devastated,” Cavins-Tull said in a statement.
Ahead of Saturday’s home football game against the Colorado Buffaloes, university officials held a moment of silence, CNN affiliate WFAA reported.
“Wes was truly an amazing and loving son, brother, cousin, and friend to so many,” his family said in a statement through TCU on Friday, WFAA reported. “We are heartbroken by his passing and ask for the space to grieve during this terribly difficult time.”
“Smith was shot and killed in a senseless act of gun violence,” Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
The mayor said Smith was a “remarkable young man who impacted countless lives including my own son as a football coach for his middle school team.”