Grandson of former University City superintendent killed in doub -


Grandson of former University City superintendent killed in double shooting

Posted: Updated:
Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District) Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District)
Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District) Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District)
Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District) Taylor Simpson (Credit: University City School District)

The University City School District has confirmed that a 17-year-old killed in a double shooting on Wednesday was the grandson of a former superintendent of University City schools. 

The school district said Taylor Simpson, who was a senior at Lieberman Learning Center, was shot around 10:30 a.m. at the 8300 block of Braddock Drive, and was pronounced dead at the hospital. The students were released early for a half day on Wednesday from school. " Taylor was not out of the building for 10 minutes before he was killed," said Chris Blumenhorst, the principal at Lieberman Learning Center.

Majorie Collins lives on the street where this shooting happened. She, along with many neighbors, have lived there for more than 40 years. 

"Everybody's out here doing their lawns, taking care of everything. We talk together. it's a nice neighborhood," said Collins, "We're all mostly retired people."

Collins said she never would expect violence along this street she lives on, "I'm really shocked."

Witnesses told police that two people in a dark-colored sedan drove by the area and opened fire, injuring two other victims. One was treated and released from a hospital after being grazed by a bullet. The other victim, who suffered some scrapes but was not shot, refused medical treatment. 

After the shooting, the vehicle sped off, heading west on Kempland. 

As of Thursday, police had made no arrests in the shooting.

Simpson, who previously attended University City High School and Jackson Park Elementary School, was the grandson of former Superintendent Joylynn Pruitt, who retired in 2016.

Principal Blumenhorst and many of the staff at Lieberman Learning Center are close friends of Simpson's family. "I've known Taylor for eight years, when he was in grade school here at University City," said Blumenhorst.

Staff told News 4 that Simpson was known by many as "The District's Baby" because he was the former superintendent's grandson.

"Always had a big smile on his face, but when it was time to get determined and serious, he got determined and serious," said Blumenhorst. 

Grief counselors are on hand for students coping with the loss of their classmate and sorting through mixed emotions.

"Angry and sad...angry that a life was taken, and sad because it happens too often here in St. Louis," said Blumenhorst. 

During the first few days of shock, staff is keeping a brave face for the students, at least for now. 

"First we stand strong for the kids, then we take care of ourselves later on," said Blumenhorst. 

Friday morning, alumni and community members will be at the University City High School wearing black and gold at 6:45 a.m. to show support in honor of Taylor Simpson.

The school district released the following statement Thursday afternoon regarding Simpson's death:

“Our hearts are broken,” said Superintendent Sharonica Hardin-Bartley. “This is a terrible tragedy and our prayers are with Dr. Pruitt and all of Taylor’s family.”

The University City Police Department is currently investigating the shooting that took place Wednesday morning about a half mile west of Barbara C. Jordan Elementary School.  There was never any threat to students at the school.  The school district is cooperating with the police in their investigation.

Grief counselors and other support staff are on hand at both UCHS and Lieberman Learning Center. The District is also working with Lutheran Family Services, a crisis counseling team from a neighboring district, and members of the clergy coalition are also providing on-site support.

“Our focus right now is on caring for our students and district staff while doing what we can to support Taylor’s family,” Hardin-Bartley said. “We ask that you keep them in your thoughts.”

The District is also exploring ways for the community to support students and families as the grieving process begins. Details of any public events will be shared as they become available.

Simpson's family is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest, prosecution, and conviction of the suspects.

Copyright 2017 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

Powered by Frankly