FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Two teenagers were in custody in the shooting of a 15-year-old fellow student who was wounded in the neck during a lunch period outside her North Carolina high school, and a sheriff said Monday the pair will be charged.
The 18-year-old and 15-year-old male suspects and the victim attend Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville, Cumberland County Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler said. Both suspects participated in the shooting and were being questioned, he said. The weapon, a .22-caliber Daisy rifle, and shell casings have been recovered.
Catilyn Abercrombie was in stable condition after surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, according to Butler, who said she was standing in a breezeway outside the school cafeteria when she was shot.
The older suspect is scheduled to appear in court today, while the 15-year-old will go to juvenile court, although an exact date for the student’s appearance wasn’t known, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.
The sheriff said the two teens were apprehended with the help of surveillance video which showed them carrying the rifle inside the school. The suspects were either in the hallway with the door open or outside the breezeway where Abercrombie was walking.
While the high school has metal detectors, Butler said he didn’t know if they were used on a daily basis at the school. WTVD reported that the suspects may have sneaked the rifle into the rural school in a shirt or pants.
Butler said investigators don’t think Abercrombie was the intended target, but no motive has been established.
“Why did they shoot? I don’t know,” he said.
The high school and nearby Mac Williams Middle School were locked down for hours before students were allowed to go home.
Butler said additional staff will be on hand at both schools today to help the school resource officer on duty. The schools are scheduled to operate as normal.
When asked how long the extra deputies would be on the campuses, Tanna said, “As long as it takes to make sure the school has been put back in order and students and parents feel confident about their safety.”
A police officer assigned to the high school was standing near Abercrombie when she was shot at about 1 p.m. and immediately called 911, Tanna said.
Students from the middle school were sent home before their high school counterparts, who were still gradually leaving the campus by 6 p.m. Students were searched by police and left the building in long lines holding their hands above their heads before boarding buses that took them from campus.