Nabria Varner, 13, was in her sophomore week of high school when she heard gunshots in her building.
Her mother, Sashua Patterson, was sitting at home working remotely when she got the call.
“She was scared. She said, ‘Mom, please get me,'” Patterson said. Nabria, who had finally returned to face-to-face classes after distance learning due to COVID-19, told her mother she was “in hiding” and was hiding in the school’s gym.
A student was killed in the high school shooting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on Wednesday, which caused panic among students, staff and parents when several schools across the district were locked for hours.
A suspect is in custody, said the Forsyth County sheriff’s office on Wednesday evening. It was the second school shooting in the state in three days.
Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson fought back tears Wednesday nightwhen she announced it A Mount Tabor High School student died after being shot dead.
The Winston-Salem Sheriff’s Office and Police Department answered a call at 12:07 p.m. and found a student with a gunshot wound, Thompson said.First responders tried to save his life and took him to the Health Wake Forest Baptist Atrium, where he died of his injuries, Thompson said.
Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr. said the victim’s mother wanted his identity to be released and the office had identified the student as William Chavis Raynard Miller Jr.
“We saw something we see on television across the country,” said Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines. “Today we face him directly.”
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On Wednesday evening, the sheriff’s office announced that the suspect had been “taken into custody without incident.”
The students were reunited with their parents and guardians about five hours after the shooting.
“It’s like a punch in the stomach and it takes your breath away not knowing if your children are safe, your friend’s children are safe, your neighbour’s children are safe. And you torment yourself until you find out what happened and what happened went on, “said Jim O’Neill, district attorney for Forsyth County. “As a parent as a prosecutor, you really can’t imagine a worse feeling.”
There were two MPs in the building when the shooting took place, Kimbrough said. Additional law enforcement agencies are in the building “within minutes,” Superintendent Tricia McManus said.
EMS was prone to “students panicking naturally,” Kimbrough said. At least one student had a seizure, Thompson said.
Previously, parents desperate for information parked their cars on the sidewalks a few blocks from the high school when police directed traffic away from campus.
Christopher Johnson said his son told him he heard the gunshots in the gym and the students were told to go into hiding because there was an active shooter on campus.
“You see something like that in the media,” said Johnson, whose son was still in school waiting to be transported to a pick-up point. “It’s scary to know that it actually touched and touched you this time. My son is not a victim, but he is a part of it and he will probably remember it forever. “
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According to a school district website, Mount Tabor High School has approximately 1,500 students. The school is located in a residential area of the city.
The shooting on Wednesday took place on the eighth day of classroom teaching for the school district. The incidentarrives two days after a shooting at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, North Carolina.
On Monday, a 15-year-old student shot and killed another teenager when a fight between several students escalated into a chaotic scene on a school catwalk. The victim was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries and the suspect faces four charges, including attempted first degree murder.
“For the second time this week we saw a school shooting in North Carolina,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement. “We have to work to ensure the safety of students and teachers, arrest the shooter quickly and keep weapons away from the school grounds.”
McManus said the school district will send crisis teams to support students and staff. City officials said the counselors would be available to speak to youth at Friends Baptist Church on Wednesday evening.
“We have a mother and a family who can’t hug their child tonight,” Thompson said.
Contributors: The Associated Press; Emma Dill, Wilmington StarNews