On November 12, 2008, 15-year-old Teah Wimberly shot her friend and classmate Amanda Collette, a star on the school hip-hop dance squad, at Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Collette was also 15 at the time. Wimberly had allegedly been interested in a romantic relationship, and when Collette rebuffed her advances, she became enraged. She shot Collette in between classes. After shooting Collette, Wimberly ran to a local restaurant, where she called 911 to report what she had done. Police arrested her at the restaurant and seized her gun.
Wimberly was charged in adult court and found guilty of second-degree murder and possession of a weapon on school grounds. Her attorneys had offered an insanity defense. Although Wimberly faced life in prison for her crimes, the judge recommended that she be sent to a juvenile facility until she is 21, the minimum sentence possible.
Wimberly had been raised by her grandparents after her parents separated before she was born. Her father, Jevon Wimberly, is in prison serving a 25-year sentence for second-degree murder. Wimberly had been abused as a child. During her trial, experts testified that she was very troubled and needed mental health counseling. Wimberly claimed she did not want to kill Collette, but simply sought to make her feel the same pain she had felt when Collette rejected her.
In April 2010, Collette’s family filed suit against the Broward County Schools, arguing that their daughter’s death could have been prevented. The suit alleges that a teacher was told that a student had a gun on campus and the teacher failed to respond. Allegedly the student said Wimberly had pulled out the gun in science class and said she planned to use it to “make Collette feel pain.” After the class the student told his teacher, Hugues Douyon, but was sent back to his seat. Douyon has claimed he was never told about a gun. The family’s suit also criticizes the hand-held metal detectors the family claims were present but not in use.
- Associated Press. (2008, November 13). Florida girl, 15, fatally shot during argument at high school. Fox News.
- Figueroa, L. (2009, December 9). Teah Wimberley found guilty in Dillard High slaying. Miami Herald.
- Johnson, A. (April 8, 2010). Victim’s family suing school board over Dillard High School shooting. Miami Herald.
- Wimberley to victim’s mom: “I robbed you of Amanda.” (2010, March 26). WPLG Local 10.