Tyrese Simmons, 19. (Photo courtesy of the Dallas County jail.)

The teen accused of killing a 9-year-old girl Wednesday in an East Dallas apartment complex attended Woodrow Wilson High School, a former teacher said.

Tyrese Simmons, 19, turned himself in Thursday at the Lew Sterrett jail in connection with the death of Brandoniya Bennett at the Roseland Townhomes in the 3500 block of Munger Avenue, the Dallas Morning News reported. He was charged with capital murder and remains in jail on $500,000 bond.

Police said at a news conference that Simmons mistakenly killed Brandoniya after appearing at the wrong address. Simmons’ intended target had been a rapper who “dissed” him in a song.


Will Maddox, a former Woodrow Wilson teacher, said he taught Simmons in 10th-grade English.

“I am not one to sugarcoat my memories of students, but Tyrese truly stood out as respectful, kind and gentle in my class,” Maddox said. “He was a great student, talented basketball player, and a few years ago, I would have put money on him going on to do great things. Less than a year ago, I ran into him coming out of a movie, and he gave me a hug. My heart breaks thinking about that moment. It made me proud to know him.

“What happened to Brandoniya is an absolute horror. Her family deserves justice, but I am also torn up about a world where this promising young man ends up turning himself in for capital murder. Having compassion for a young man who is a potential child murderer is not a popular feeling, but I am heartbroken for him.

“My hope is that tragedy can motivate us to engage the world, people and policies around us, be generous with our time and resources and love the ones who are difficult to love.”


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