WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - A high school student was shot in the neck during an outdoor lunch break at a North Carolina school on Monday, prompting a lockdown of two campuses as authorities tried to identify her shooter.
Exactly what happened at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville to land the 15-year-old girl in the hospital confounded investigators.
“This was probably one of the strangest shootings that we’ve ever come across,” Cumberland County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Debbie Tanna told WRAL News.
“There have been all kinds of scenarios that have been tossed around here today,” she said. “We’re not (any) closer to knowing right now as we were when this initially happened.”
Sheriff Earl “Moose” Butler told reporters that students who were outside for lunch at the high school said they thought they heard a “pop” about the time of the shooting, but no one saw a gun.
The injured student, who is in the 10th grade, fell to the ground, Butler said. Tanna said a school resource officer was standing nearby when the shooting occurred and saw the student get hit, but did not see any “chaos” around her at the time.
The student was in stable condition on Monday evening, according to Theresa Perry, assistant superintendent for Cumberland County Schools. She could not indicate how serious the girl’s injuries were.
Officials locked down the high school and a nearby middle school for several hours after the shooting. School buses and students were searched by law enforcement before being released several hours later, officials said.
All after-school activities on both campuses were canceled on Monday, but officials expected the schools to reopen as usual on Tuesday, Perry told Reuters.
Law enforcement and school officials have been more vigilant about the potential for gun violence in schools following the 1999 shooting massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.
At Columbine, students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 students and a teacher and injured 21 other students before taking their own lives.
Reporting by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Cynthia Johnston