Timothy Barnes Jr, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, was shot in the head by another student while waiting for the bus Tuesday morning in Lawrenceville, Georgia, police announced.

Barnes was rushed to Northside Hospital Gwinnett, where authorities said he is alive but in critical condition. His mother told WXIA her son was “brain dead” and is currently on life support.  

Police arrested 17-year-old Serar Shakiib Abdi in connection with the shooting a few hours later. 

No clear motive has been established, but both teens are reportedly students at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, a suburb of Atlanta. 

Family: Timothy Barnes Jr ‘Never Saw It Coming’ 

A Lawrenceville police spokesman told CNN officers were dispatched to the Saddle Shoals neighborhood at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday “in reference to someone who heard a gunshot and then saw a kid lying in the street.”

Just minutes earlier, the spokesman said, another teen approached Timothy Barnes Jr and shot him in the back of the head. 

“So he never saw it coming,” Barnes’ mother Latoya Nicholson told WXIA

The police spokesman told CNN investigators believe Barnes and his attacker were involved in an ongoing dispute, though details are vague.

“The two had some sort of disagreement in the past,” he said. “They know each other from school and had some sort of conflict recently.” 

Initial reports indicated that Barnes was killed in the shooting, until authorities clarified he was on life support. 

Timothy Barnes Sr, the 16-year-old’s father, took to Facebook Tuesday night to shed light on his son’s condition. 

“[Timothy Barnes Jr is] still here in the land of the living,” he wrote. “He’s on life support but he’s still here […] Please continue to pray that God will raise him up, totally healed.” 

According to Nicholson, her son’s prognosis is grim. 

“He’s on life support, and it’s up to me to take him off life support,” she told WXIA. “He’s brain dead at this moment, but they’re trying everything they can do.” 

Timothy Barnes Jr, a 16-year-old Central Gwinnett High School sophomore, is on life support after he was shot in the head at his bus stop on Tuesday morning in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Timothy Barnes Jr, a 16-year-old Central Gwinnett High School sophomore, is on life support after he was shot in the head at his bus stop on Tuesday morning in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Photo credit: Facebook

Serar Shakiib Abdi Accused in Shooting

Lawrenceville police arrested 17-year-old Serar Shakiib Abdi not far from the scene of the shooting, some five hours after Timothy Barnes Jr was found in the street. 

According to the Gwinnett County Sheriff’s website, Abdi was booked and charged with felony aggravated assault and possession of a deadly weapon during commission of a felony. 

The Lawrenceville police spokesman noted that the charges “are subject to change or upgrade dependent on the victim’s condition,” according to CNN

If convicted, the assault charge will carry a minimum 10-year sentence under Georgia law. The weapons charge carries a five-year sentence for first-time offenders. 

Abdi is being held without bond at a Gwinnett County jail, sheriff’s office records show. It is not clear when he will be arraigned, or if he has retained a lawyer as of Wednesday. 

Police said Serar Shakiib Abdi, 17, was charged with two felonies in connection with the shooting of 16-year-old Timothy Barnes Jr. Both were students at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Police said Serar Shakiib Abdi, 17, was charged with two felonies in connection with the shooting of 16-year-old Timothy Barnes Jr. Both were students at Central Gwinnett High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Photo credit: Lawrenceville Police

A Community in Shock

Latoya Nichols said her 16-year-old son is the youngest of five siblings, and had enjoyed sports and school life. 

“He was just a good child overall, a good child,” she told WXIA. “I don’t know what happened, and why they did it.” 

Shane Orr, the principal at Central Gwinnett High where both Timothy Barnes Jr and Serar Shakiib Abdi were students, said he had a “heavy heart” in a statement to the school community Tuesday.

“While this incident did not occur at school, it does touch all of us in the Central community — our students, families, staff members, and community,” Orr wrote. “As always, we appreciate your support of our students and school and ask that we all be there for each other during this difficult time.”