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5 students arrested, 2 guns seized at Huntersville's Hopewell High School

Hopewell High School
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Hopewell High School

Five students were taken into custody and two firearms were seized at Hopewell High School on Wednesday, adding to a rising number of guns confiscated on Charlotte-Mecklenburg School campuses this school year.

The Huntersville Police Department confirmed the arrests and seizures in a release to local media outlets.

According to police, a fight broke out between students around 12:30 p.m. During the fight, a black handgun fell onto the ground and was picked up by a student.

Staff were called and reviewed security footage to identify the students involved in the fight. Hopewell Principal Tracey Pickard later wrote in a message to families that the school was placed on lockdown, and officers were called in to sweep the campus in search of the firearm.

During the search, Pickard said officers found a gun in a student's backpack. The gun was loaded, and police say they believe the student who was carrying it had been involved in the fight. However, police said it was not the black handgun they were searching for.

Later, as students were being dismissed, police say a bus driver was notified by a student who had seen a gun on a bus. Officers arrived and found the gun, believed to have been the gun seen in the fight. Police say the gun appeared to be stolen. A student was taken into custody.

The school's principal said no threats were made with the firearms, and students and staff were safe, but dismissal for some students was delayed.

Police have withheld the identities of the students involved, citing their ages.

CMS Superintendent Earnest Winston issued a statement Wednesday night saying he was "concerned" by students bringing guns onto school campuses. He said the school system needed to address the problem with support from local government and law enforcement.

"We must address this problem, but also the underlying issues that are leading to school-age adolescents getting access to guns in the first place," Winston wrote.

"This is a conversation that involves CMS, but it must be broader than that. We cannot come at this alone. I am asking my counterparts in local municipal government and local law enforcement leadership to join me for the first of what might need to be a series of discussions."

The two guns seized Wednesday bring the total number of guns confiscated on CMS campuses this school year to 15. In just the last week, a loaded gun was found in a student's backpack at South Mecklenburg High School, and another gun was recovered at Julius Chambers High School.

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Nick de la Canal is the host of Weekend Edition on Saturday/Sunday mornings, and a reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal