At least one student was injured and rushed to the hospital with a gunshot wound after a shooting inside a high school in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, local officials said.
There was one gunshot victim at Mount Tabor High School, Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. said Wednesday afternoon in a press briefing.
The shooter was not in custody and was not in the building, he said. Winston-Salem police officers were “actively seeking” the shooter.
Superintendent Tricia McManus said other schools in the area were also locked down “because of the search.”
The shooting happened around noon, Kimbrough said. He said it was not immediately clear what led to the shooting, or if the shooter was also a student. As far as officials know, there was only one shooter, Kimbrough said.
There were two deputies inside the building when the shooting took place, Kimbrough said. Additional law enforcement was at the building “within minutes,” McManus said.
“It’s a sad day in Forsyth County,” Kimbrough said.
Kimbrough said he did not know the victim’s condition. He said EMS tended to “students who, quite naturally, were panicked by this.”
Earlier, Winston-Salem police said the school locked down after the shooting. Officers secured the campus and were “doing everything possible to keep students safe,” according to a statement on Twitter.
“The kids are safe. We have them in a secure location,” Kimbrough said.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said students were being transported to the Robinhood Family YMCA.
“Parents can report there to be reunited with their children. Reunification will take some time as students are being transported in stages,” the office said in a Twitter post.
In a statement, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he had been briefed on the situation by law enforcement was “ready to provide any support necessary.”
Parents frantic for information parked their cars on the sidewalks several blocks from the high school as police directed traffic away from the campus. Students and parents could be seen walking away from the campus toward a nearby shopping center.
Police blocked roads to the school and numerous emergency vehicles were on the scene. Local outlets reported police, an ambulance, sheriff deputies and the fire department were on scene. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the incident, according to the agency’s Charlotte office.
Earlier, police in a Twitter post directed parents not to respond to the high school.
Christopher Johnson said his son told him that he heard the gunshots while in the school gym and students were told to hide because there was an active shooter on the campus.
“You see stuff like this in the media,” said Johnson, whose son was still at the school awaiting transportation to a pickup point. “It’s scary to know that it actually reached out and touched you this time. My son’s not a victim but he’s part of this and he’ll probably remember this forever.”
Mount Tabor High School has approximately 1,500 students, according to a school district website. The school is located in a residential area of the city.
Parents DJ and Toyoka Davis told WXII-TV it was their daughter’s second week of high school. They said she contacted them from inside the school, telling them she was on lockdown.
“At that moment, you’re just saying, are you okay?” Toyoka Davis told the outlet. “It was just crazy because it’s so close to home.”
The shooting Wednesday happened on the eighth day of in-person classes for the school district. The incidentcomes two days after a shooting at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina.
On Monday, a 15-year-old student shot another juvenile as a fight between several students escalated into a chaotic scene inside a school catwalk. The victim was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and the suspect faces four charges, including attempted first-degree murder.
“For the second time this week, we have seen a shooting in a North Carolina school,” Cooper said. “… We must work to ensure the safety of students and educators, quickly apprehend the shooter and keep guns off school grounds.”
Contributing: The Associated Press; Emma Dill, Wilmington StarNews