One person was killed and two were injured Thursday in an apparent stabbing on the fourth day of class at an eastern North Carolina high school, police said. Three teenagers have been charged.
Two minors were taken to Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune with injuries, and one later died, Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Yaniero told a news conference. He said the attack at Northside High School in Jacksonville appeared to be a stabbing but that the investigation was ongoing. A teacher was also injured, but not stabbed, and received onsite medical treatment, he said.
The chief said a school resource officer responded within about 20 seconds of receiving word of the attack, which happened about 7 a.m., and a student suspect was taken into custody. By the end of the day, three teens were arrested and charged. The attack happened inside the school in a common area, and many students witnessed it, the police chief said. He declined to release names.
A 16-year-old boy was charged with voluntary manslaughter, possession of a weapon on school property, assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a school official, police said late Thursday afternoon. Two other boys, ages 15 and 16, were each charged with assault and disorderly conduct on school property. All were charged as juveniles, and their names weren’t released.
A lockdown lasted until 8:45 a.m., after which the school began a dismissal process to release students to their parents. Nearly all students had left with their parents by the time police held a midmorning news conference.
All sporting events and activities have been canceled for the remainder of the week, and Friday will be a virtual school day. School will resume in person on Tuesday with crisis counselors present. The district had just begun classes on Monday.
Dr. Barry Collins, superintendent of Onslow County Schools, said the district had expanded security in the past year with the addition of a resource officer at every school and two at some larger high schools, including Northside. The school recently added security cameras and swipe-in door locks, he said, but will look into further safety measures in the coming weeks.
“I don’t know at this time how it could’ve been done any better than the way it was handled, considering the circumstances,” Collins said. “A couple of our own staff were right there when this happened.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said he spoke to Yaniero and offered assistance from the State Bureau of Investigation.
“Our prayers are with all the students, educators, families and the community,” Cooper said in a tweet.
Hannah Schoenbaum is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow her on Twitter @H_Schoenbaum.