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Crime & Justice

Gun found inside Charlotte's Garinger High after shots are exchanged outside the school

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Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
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Garinger High School in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Updated 4:10 p.m.

Gunfire was exchanged outside Garinger High School just before classes started Tuesday morning, and the principal says students were "potentially involved."

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say no one appears to have been injured and that a juvenile was charged in connection with the shooting.

In a message to parents, Principal Sharon Bracey says shots were exchanged between occupants of a black SUV and others: "It is believed that suspects targeted by the gunfire returned fire and fled to campus. It was believed those students possessed a weapon."

CMPD says a school resource officer heard several gunshots outside the school and witnesses told police that several subjects were seen running onto the school campus.

The east Charlotte school was locked down and students were sent to the cafeteria. "CMPD officers began the search in the gym and a firearm and two loaded magazines were found," Bracey's message said. "One suspect is in police custody and another has been detained as law enforcement continues to investigate."

Police say the juvenile suspect has been charged with possession of a stolen firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor and possession of a firearm on school grounds.

The incident follows weeks of concern over students involved in gun violence in the community. After two fatal shootings in early September, one of which killed a sleeping 3-year-old, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police said students from three CMS high schools were potentially involved. Garinger was not one of those schools.

Random gun searches at Charlotte-Mecklenburg high schools have resumed after being on hiatus during last year’s remote learning.

CMS Communications Chief Eve White said neither Bracey nor anyone else from the district would comment on the incident Tuesday.

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Garinger High Principal Sharon Bracey

Here's the text of the message sent to Garinger families:

"This is Principal Bracey with an important message.

Just prior to 7 a.m. our school was placed on lockdown as shots were fired near our campus, with students potentially involved in the incident.

Shots were fired near campus by individuals believed to be in a black SUV. It is believed that suspects targeted by the gunfire returned fire and fled to campus. It was believed those students possessed a weapon.

Our arriving students were directed to the gym and students who had arrived prior to the shots fired went to the cafeteria. CMPD officers began the search in the gym and a firearm and two loaded magazines were found. One suspect is in police custody and another has been detained as law enforcement continues to investigate.

No students were injured and police have secured our building and campus. Currently our school remains on lockdown. Upon receiving the go ahead we will transition to restricted movement for the rest of the day. Additional security will be present.

I encourage you to speak with your students about the consequences of bringing weapons to school or on school transportation, and to share with law enforcement any information they may know about today’s incident."

CMPD is asking anyone with information on the shooting to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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