CHINA GROVE, N.C. — Authorities are investigating after a shootout at a Rowan County haunted attraction Saturday night.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said they were called to the haunted house and trail called “Reaper’s Realm” in China Grove along Daugherty Road before 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Authorities said they are searching for a silver 2015 Dodge Ram that drove off, and they think those who were in it fired gunshots. The North Carolina tag number on the truck is DBL-8464.
Deputies said the attraction was “well-advertised” online.
“At one point, a huge group kind of migrated to the right. At that time, a fight was starting,” said Angela Stutts, a parent who was there with her children. “Then, after a few minutes of that happening, gunshots rang out, and the crowd started scattering. Kids were running everywhere."
Deputies said several groups of people fought and shot at each other. They had to call in state troopers, Concord police and other officers to help break up the crowds with pepper spray.
They were also calling parents to get their kids. Deputies found more than 1,000 people at the haunted attraction and many of them were children.
“I think I’m a little more shook up than the kids," Stutts said. "I’m just disappointed in the overall lack of patrols in place for a crowd that size.”
Deputies said one shooting victim showed up at Atrium Health in Dilworth. He didn’t realize someone shot him in the foot until he got away from the scene, but he is expected to be OK.
The sheriff’s office said the case is still developing, but deputies arrested five juveniles after the shooting. They have not released their names or what charges they may face. Officials also found three guns at the scene.
On Monday, the organizers who run the haunted house and trail posted the following message on Facebook:
“This is not the kind of behavior that is welcome at our haunt. In ten years of operation, this was the first time that we have ever had to call police or EMS. We are currently working on a plan to increase security for the rest of our haunt season.”
The incident also raised questions about safety and crowd sizes during the pandemic. The owners of the trail have posted COVID-19 safety protocols on their website, and a spokesman for the health department told Channel 9 that fire inspectors had checked it out in advance.
“They did have the fire marshal up there keeping count of everybody and making sure everybody went through, so there weren’t too many people,” a neighbor told Channel 9.
No other information has been released.
This is an ongoing investigation. Check back with wsoctv.com for updates.
Anyone with information about this shooting incident is requested to call 704-216-8711 for 1st Lt. Rodney Mahaley or 704-216-8662 for Detective Josh Simmons, or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.
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