Suspect admits to fatally shooting Texas college student outside a bar – but can’t explain why

Matthew Purdy Jr, 21, told police he did not know Wes Smith, who he shot in an apparent random attack on Friday, but said he shot him in the head ‘because he wanted to make sure he was dead’

Andrea Cavallier
Monday 04 September 2023 18:32 EDT

Suspect admits he shot TCU student 3 times, police say

A Texas man admitted to fatally shooting a Texas Christian University student outside a bar, but could not give a reason as to why he committed the crime, a police affidavit revealed.

Matthew Purdy Jr, 21, was located by police and arrested shortly after the tragic killing happened around 1am on Friday.

Wes Smith, a junior at Texas Christian University, was shot three times while standing on a sidewalk in Fort Worth’s West 7th entertainment district, according to a police affidavit.

Purdy told police that he did not know Smith and could not give a reason for the shooting. But did ask if he knew his father, who was assaulted in the area in the past, arrest documents stated.

The college student had gunshot wounds to his stomach, shoulder and head, according to the affidavit that also revealed Purdy told police that he shot Smith in the head “because he wanted to make sure he was dead.”

He also told police he would have fired more shots “if he hadn’t run out of ammunition.”

Surveillance video reviewed by police showed the suspect as he approached Smith and appeared to speak to him before the student fell to the ground. Purdy, who was wearing a white T-shirt, dark pants, red ball cap and carrying a backpack, stood over Smith before running off, the affidavit said.

Matthew Purdy Jr

A witness who later described the chaotic scene to police, said the suspect hit an unknown person in the back of the head with a gun.

When Purdy was detained by police a short time later, he appeared to have “fresh blood” on his backpack, according to the affidavit. He was placed in the back of a patrol car where he dismantled a 9mm handgun that police say he had hidden, and threw pieces of it outside.

At the time of the incident, Purdy was on probation for aggravated robbery.

He now faces a murder charge and was booked at the Tarrant County Jail with a bond set at $500,000.

Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker wrote on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that “Smith was shot and killed in a senseless act of gun violence.”

Smith was a “remarkable young man who impacted countless lives including my own son as a football coach for his middle school team.”

The Tennessee native was a junior at TCU where he was double-majoring in finance and marketing, according to Kathy Cavins-Tull, TCU Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, who said in a statement that the university is “devastated.”

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