WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The suspect behind a deadly shooting Wednesday that took the life of a student at Mount Tabor High Student in Winston-Salem was taken into custody, deputies said.
Winston-Salem police Chief Catrina Thompson, fighting back tears, told a news conference that Mount Tabor High School went into immediate lockdown after the school’s student resource officer called around 12 p.m. saying a student had been shot and that the gunman was still on the loose.
The student -- identified as William Chavis Raynard Miller Jr. -- was rushed to the hospital where he died, police said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family today and in the difficult days to come,” the police department tweeted.
>>A 2nd press conference will be live-streamed on Facebook Thursday at 11 a.m. Attendees include NC Gov Cooper and the leaders of several law enforcement agencies that responded to the scene. You can watch it anywhere you stream the WSOC TV app.
Emergency responders, sheriff’s deputies and police officers swarmed the school to search for the suspect, who Thompson said was believed to be a student at the school.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office announced on its Twitter page around 6 p.m. that the suspect, who was not identified, was taken into custody without incident with assistance from the US Marshals Carolinas Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough Jr., who joined deputies and officers at the school on the initial call, said he met with the victim’s family at the hospital.
“I haven’t cried in a while, but I’ve been crying since I left the hospital,” Kimbrough said.
Mount Tabor High School was placed on lockdown for hours after the shooting. Police secured the campus and said authorities were “doing everything possible to keep students safe.”
Thompson said no other students were shot, although some were treated for medical issues resulting from the chaos.
Police blocked roads to the school and numerous emergency vehicles were on the scene. Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives responded to the incident, according to the agency’s Charlotte office.
Parents frantic for information parked their cars on the sidewalks several blocks from the high school as police directed traffic away from the campus. Students and parents could be seen walking away from the campus toward a nearby shopping center.
Parent Christopher Johnson said his son told him that he heard the gunshots while in the school gym and students were told to hide because there was an active shooter on campus.
“You see stuff like this in the media,” said Johnson, whose son was still at the school awaiting transportation to a pickup point. “It’s scary to know that it actually reached out and touched you this time. My son’s not a victim, but he’s part of this and he’ll probably remember this forever.”
The city tweeted that parents should not respond to the school, which has an enrollment of more than 1,500 students, but go to a nearby Harris Teeter and await further instructions for picking up students.
Around 2:45 p.m., there were reports of a shots fired near the store, but deputies said there was not a confirmed second shooting and no one was hurt.
Authorities initially posted online that students were being transported to a YMCA to be reunited with parents, but later said the reunification location would not be disclosed to keep everyone safe.
Instead, parents and school buses carrying students were escorted by police to the pickup location in stages.
“You hear about things like this in other cities,” said Shakira Campbell, a mother with a student at Mount Tabor High School. “It’s so much different when it hits home and it’s your baby .”
Many parents said for hours they could only communicate with their child by texting or a quick phone call.
“He’s hiding behind a desk with three other children,” mother Michelle Clinard said.
Clinard’s son is a ninth grader at the school and she said she’s shocked something like this happened.
“I sent him back to a school that is supposed to be really, really good and I’m sure it is but it’s the second week of school and there’s been a school shooting,” she said.
The sheriff’s office said other schools in the area were placed on lockdown as a precaution but no other shootings or injuries had been reported. All lockdowns have since been lifted.
Deputies also said they are aware of information circulating regarding other acts of violence in response to Wednesday’s shooting. They said investigators are looking into the reports and if you have any info to share, send text/photo/video anonymously to text-a-tip at (336) 920-8477.
Officials said the school will be closed Thursday and counselors will be available at an offsite location.
This is the second shooting at a North Carolina school this week. On Monday, authorities said a student was shot by a fellow student during a fight at a high school in Wilmington.
Authorities charged the 15-year-old with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and weapons offenses, the sheriff’s office said.
Gov. Roy Cooper released the following statement after Wednesday’s shooting:
*The Associated Press and the Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this article.
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