15-year-old charged in shooting at New Hanover High School

Published: Aug. 30, 2021 at 11:56 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - A 15-year-old student is facing an attempted murder charge after he allegedly shot another student following a fight at New Hanover High School on Monday.

According the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the teen was taken into custody Monday afternoon. He’s been charged with:

  • Attempted first-degree murder
  • Assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury
  • Bringing a weapon onto school grounds
  • Discharging a weapon on school grounds

Editor’s note: The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office released the name of the teenage suspect Monday in an effort to cut down on misinformation surrounding the shooting. But they are now asking all media to refrain from using the suspect’s name - a request that WECT is going to honor.

The injured student was taken to the hospital for treatment. Sheriff Ed McMahon said he believes the student’s injuries are not life-threatening.

According to the sheriff, the shooting took place after an argument and fight on a catwalk between buildings at the school shortly after 11 a.m.

“We’re not going to tolerate this kind of behavior in our school system,” McMahon said at a news briefing Monday.

After the shooting, New Hanover High School students were taken to Williston Middle School and eventually transferred to the MLK Center where parents could come and pick them up.

Williston Middle School, Gregory Elementary, and Laney High School were placed under a shelter-in-place as a result of the shooting.

On Monday, a video was quickly circulating on social media of a fight that was purportedly connected to the shooting. Toward the end of the video, three gunshots can be heard. WECT has not been able to confirm the fight in the video and the shooting are connected.

“We were lucky today,” Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo said. “I saw that video and to see a person take matters into their own hands and start shooting a gun in a crowded school is unfathomable. We’re not going to tolerate it.

“This culture of retaliation has got to stop. We’re going to use all of our resources to make sure it stops.”

New Hanover County officials said a crisis intervention line has been set up in response to Monday’s shooting. The phone line, available in English and Spanish, will be open Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to call 910-798-6501 to speak with a mental health therapist from the county health department.

“I have spoken with New Hanover County School Board Chair Stefanie Adams and committed any resources needed from the county to help our students, families and staff through this frightening ordeal. No one, especially our children, should feel scared like they did today,” said Julia Olson-Boseman, the chair of the New Hanover County Commission, in a news release.

“I have also asked for a joint meeting with commissioners, the school board, and our law enforcement partners to discuss and then take actions to do more to keep our schools safe and protect our kids, so nothing like this happens again in our community,” she added.

District officials announced Monday evening that New Hanover High School will not hold classes on Tuesday.

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