LUMBERTON — Police will review footage from security cameras at Robeson Community College to see if a gunman was on campus Thursday, but the school’s president says there is no guarantee the videotape will answer questions.
The gunman was reportedly seen in the school’s Health and Sciences building shortly before noon.
“We don’t have cameras everywhere, but we cover probably 16 to 20 zones around the campus,” Charles Chrestman said. “We rarely ever have any issues in our Health and Science building so we have not yet placed cameras inside that building. All we would have would be footage on the outside of the building, where people have been coming and going.”
Lumberton police Sgt. Harold Jackson, who responded to the call of a gunman on campus on Thursday, said that the investigator assigned to the case would be reviewing security footage from “different locations” at the college that covers the “general area where the suspect was seen.”
Chrestman said that police would also be talking with staff members today who may be able to help provide some more information.
“We’re going to investigate and see what we can find out, but we’re continuing to install surveillance equipment in our buildings as we get funds to do that,” Chrestman said. “Obviously, we’re trying to get areas where we have the highest volume of students covered first.”
The school issued an all-clear at 1:29 p.m. on Thursday after an two-hour search did not find anyone on campus with a weapon, according to Chrestman.
A student in the school’s Nursing program called campus police and reported that she saw a man carrying a weapon at about 11:30 a.m. Chrestman said that according to the report, the man, who was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, had pointed a black handgun through an open door to a classroom in the school’s Health and Sciences building. The student said she screamed and the man fled, he said.
“When we got there we tried to set up a perimeter around the school and several detectives went from building to building checking all the classrooms, and we also checked all the cars in the parking lot and never located anybody with a weapon,” Jackson said.
Chrestman said that by 2 p.m., students were released “to go get some lunch or get back to their families.” The student who said she spotted the gunman filed a report with police officers, he said.
“Lumberton Police Department responded immediately,” Chrestman said. “Chief (Mike) McNeill and his staff, including Councilman Erich Hackney, went through every building, checked every classroom, made sure people were secured and checked all the perimeters of the campus a couple of times just to be sure everything was safe.”
Jackson said Lumberton detectives, patrol and auxiliary officers responded, as well as officers from the state Highway Patrol.
Chrestman said the campus remained calm during the search.
“Our faculty has just been superb, and the students have been wonderful. Everyone has cooperated very well,” he said.