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Student fires a gun outside West Charlotte High as CMS breaks record for guns at schools

A student fired "at least one shot" outside West Charlotte High School around dismissal time Monday, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say. No one was injured, and Chief Johnny Jennings said arrests are expected soon.

It marks the 23rd gun found on Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools grounds this school year, with the end of the first semester more than a month away. That breaks the record of 22 in 2018-19. It's the first time this school year that a gun was fired at school.

Here's what Jennings said about the incident at a news conference outside the school: "There was a couple of students that were involved in an altercation over a book bag. As the altercation ended, one student decided to display a firearm and pull the trigger. There was at least one shot fired."

CMPD tweet on the shots fired at West Charlotte High.
CMPD tweet on the shots fired at West Charlotte High.

Jennings says CrimeStoppers plans to increase the reward for tips leading to confiscation of guns at schools from $250 to $500.

"We hope that that will at least give some more incentive, not just to students but all people to give information where they feel like there's a gun on campus," he said.

Superintendent Earnest Winston also spoke at the news conference. He repeated what he's said before: Guns are a community problem that spill into schools.

"And as a community, we have to have a call to action to say, 'No more. This is unacceptable. We will not allow this to happen,'" he said.

Winston offered no new specifics about CMS action related to guns, violence and safety. He said 46,000 clear book bags are on order, with delivery expected in February. Winston said a group of CMS employees continues to study other options.

"Metal detectors, wands, body scanners — all of those items are on the table," he said.

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Ann Doss Helms has covered education in the Charlotte area for over 20 years, first at The Charlotte Observer and then at WFAE. Reach her at ahelms@wfae.org or 704-926-3859.