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1 Student Shot, 1 In Custody At Albemarle High

Davie Hinshaw
Charlotte Observer

An Albemarle High School student was shot and wounded by another student during an argument in front of the school Tuesday morning, Stanly County authorities say.

The suspect remained at the scene and surrendered to an Albemarle police officer who also was the school’s security officer, police said.

No other injuries were reported in the shooting, which took place about 7:40 a.m. in the courtyard in front of the school, near the Albemarle downtown district. Stanly County Schools officials said classes have been suspended for the day at the school, which had been put on lockdown after the shooting.

“A preliminary investigation indicates an argument or some kind of altercation led to the shooting,” Albemarle police Chief William Halliburton said during a mid-morning news conference. “We have no indication that any other students were involved.”

Halliburton and a spokeswoman for the Stanly County Schools declined to identify the suspect, and they said they did not know the condition of the injured student.

“What could have happened, we’ve seen across the country, we escaped that,” Halliburton said. “... He could have done more, so the reaction is that we’re thankful that he gave himself up.”

The shooting took place a short time before the first class period of the day. Student Brittany Montgomery told WBTV, the Observer’s media partner, that she heard an argument and then gunshots. Several other students reported hearing three shots.

Halliburton said the school resource officer arrived on the scene quickly, and that all available officers in Albemarle and with the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office were called to the scene. The school went on lockdown immediately, according to police.

“We had 20 officers there within minutes,” Halliburton said. “We had the suspect in custody immediately. But we did a sweep of the entire school while it was in lockdown.”

Parents were asked by police and school officials to stay away from the school, and instead go to the North Albemarle Baptist Church, about a block east of the school. Students and parents were reunited when the lockdown ended, around 9:30 a.m.

Halliburton said the weapon suspected of being used in the shooting was a 9mm handgun and was found near the scene. He said police were interviewing witnesses, but he did not know if any students were close to the shooting.

A Stanly County Schools spokeswoman confirmed that the shooter and victim were students at Albemarle High.

She said school officials have not decided whether to hold classes Wednesday.

Halliburton said Albemarle police, the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office, and other law enforcement and emergency medical organizations held a large-scale school shooting simulation drill in July to prepare for such an events.

Albemarle High School has about 470 students and is in the downtown area of Stanly County’s largest city.

Officials at Stanly Community College said all college classes scheduled Tuesday at Albemarle High have been canceled. All other Stanly Community College classes are not affected.

More information at CharlotteObserver.com.