Two students accused in North Carolina school shooting

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 25, 2011 9:23 PM
Two students accused in North Carolina school shooting

By Colleen Jenkins

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) - Two North Carolina teenagers have been arrested over the shooting of a 10th grade girl at a high school after surveillance video showed them with a rifle on campus, officials said on Tuesday.

The 15-year-old girl was shot in the neck and wounded on Monday at Cape Fear High School in Fayetteville during an outdoor lunch break, prompting a lockdown of that campus and a nearby middle school.

Investigators were initially perplexed about the source of the bullet because students and a school resource officer at the scene did not report seeing anyone with a gun.

But surveillance video later showed the two suspects inside a school building with a rifle, Cumberland County Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Tanna said.

Authorities now believe the gun was fired from an indoor hallway in the direction of an outdoor breezeway where the girl was struck, Tanna said. They don't yet know what prompted the shooting but don't believe the girl was the intended target.

"She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time," Tanna said.

The girl was hospitalized with a bullet lodged in her neck and had been in stable condition as of Monday night, Tanna said. Local media later reported she was in critical condition and on a ventilator on Tuesday, citing authorities.

The suspected 15-year-old shooter, whose name was not released, was charged with attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. An 18-year-old man, Ta'Von McLaurin, was arrested on a felony aiding and abetting charge.

Tanna said investigators were looking into the possibility the incident was gang-related.

The high school reopened on Tuesday with additional sheriff's deputies on and around campus "to make sure there are no repercussions as a result of the shooting and that this is the end of that particular incident," Tanna said.

Despite the increased security, fewer than half of the school's 1,500 students showed up for class, school officials said.

(Editing by Jerry Norton and Cynthia Johnston)