ALBEMARLE, N.C. — A student was shot by a fellow classmate outside a North Carolina high school just minutes before classes began Tuesday morning, and the shooting suspect then waited for police to arrive, authorities said.
The shooting happened around 7:40 a.m. as the two male students argued in an on-campus courtyard at Albemarle High School, Albemarle Police Chief William Halliburton said at a news conference.
The shooter, identified only as a juvenile, put down his gun after firing two shots, walked into the principal’s office and waited for police. Halliburton said.
“We had the suspect immediately in custody,” said Halliburton, who had 20 officers from several jurisdictions at the school about 35 miles east of Charlotte within minutes.
Halliburton identified the shooting victim as Bernard Miller, 17. The chief said he was told Miller was shot in the hip and lower abdomen. He provided no additional details on Miller’s condition.
The school was on lockdown Tuesday morning as investigators spoke to witnesses. The chief said he doesn’t think any other students were involved in the argument or shooting, but they haven’t finished their interviews.
Halliburton also said the shooting was not part of a bigger threat to the high school.
“This was a personal, one-on-one confrontation,” Halliburton said.
Parents have been asked to pick up their children at nearby Albemarle Baptist Church. Classes have been canceled for the day, and school officials haven’t decided if students will be back Wednesday.
Student Brittany Montgomery told WBTV-TV that she heard the students arguing, then heard three gunshots. Montgomery said a friend of hers broke down as she rushed to help the wounded student.
“I told her to calm down. He’s going to be OK. He’s just shot in the leg,” Montgomery told the TV station.
Halliburton said his officers along with Stanly County deputies were helped by a school shooting exercise they performed at Albemarle High School several months ago.
“Many of those same faces who were out on that training scenario were there today,” the chief said.