The Latest: Damaged water heater blamed for shooting report

The Latest: Damaged water heater blamed for shooting report

Armed police storm North Carolina high school over reports of active shooter that turns out to be malfunctioning heater that sounded like gunfire

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Faulty mechanical equipment which was making a sound that resembled gunfire is believed to have led to calls of an active shooter situation at Topsail High School. No evidence of a shooter was ever found and no injuries were reported.

When I arrived on scene, what I heard sounded like gunfire, explained Sheriff Carson Smith. Everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do.

"Pender County Schools is thankful everyone is safe and thanks local emergency services for its immediate response," the district said. Topsail High, Topsail Middle, and Topsail Elementary remain on lockdown.

Law enforcement responding to calls of active shooter at Topsail High

Smith said stress levels were high as the calls came in and he could hear the sound of gunshots in the background of the radio traffic.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins told The Star-News that noise from the water heater was taken for the sound of gunfire at Topsail High School on Friday morning.

Dont let our kids get hurt. Dont let our kids get hurt. Youre just praying to God dont let our kids get hurt.- Superintendent on what was going through his mind on the way to the scene this morning

Capt. James Rowell of the Pender County Sheriff's Office was quoted by WTVD-TV as saying that deputies swept the school but found no evidence that any shots had been fired.

I heard dozens [of shots], Smith explained, adding he said a prayer while driving to Topsail High school.

HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (AP) — A county official says reports of an active shooter at a school in North Carolina on Friday turned out to be malfunctioning water heater.

According to Capt. James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriffs Office, crews searched the entire building, clearing the school room by room but found no evidence of an active shooter.

At some point during the morning, law enforcement officials were alerted to a malfunction water heater that could have been the source of the gunfire sound. Officials were able to get to the water heater, which was damaged during Hurricane Florence, and re-created the sound.

The earlier report of shots fired provoked a massive response by law enforcement and caused the school district to reroute buses and put schools on lockdown.

I was sure it was not gunfire over an hour ago, said Commissioner David Williams, who is also the assistant coach for the varsity football team. I also coach football there. Lately (during practice), weve been hearing a piece of mechanical equipment go bam bam bam. It made us the first time we heard it turn around.

Williams said he has heard the sound personally and can understand how someone might hear it and make a report. He thinks it could be a remnant problem from Hurricane Florence, explaining the sound is up high, near the roof line and faces the back of the building.

"There's no active shooter," Collins said. "It's a malfunctioning water heater."

Obviously I was worried, Williams said. My son goes to school there. My daughter just graduated.

“Pender County Schools is thankful everyone is safe and thanks local emergency services for its immediate response,” the district said. Topsail High, Topsail Middle, and Topsail Elementary remain on lockdown.

PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) – Faulty mechanical equipment which was making a sound that resembled gunfire is believed to have led to calls of an active shooter situation at Topsail High School. No evidence of a shooter was ever found and no injuries were reported.

Pender County Emergency Management Director Tom Collins told The Star-News that noise from the water heater was taken for the sound of gunfire at Topsail High School on Friday morning.

When I arrived on scene, what I heard sounded like gunfire, explained Sheriff Carson Smith. Everyone did exactly what they were supposed to do.

Smith said stress levels were high as the calls came in and he could hear the sound of gunshots in the background of the radio traffic.

Capt. James Rowell of the Pender County Sheriffs Office was quoted by WTVD-TV as saying that deputies swept the school but found no evidence that any shots had been fired.

Active shooter at N.C. school deemed false alarm

Dont let our kids get hurt. Dont let our kids get hurt. Youre just praying to God dont let our kids get hurt.- Superintendent on what was going through his mind on the way to the scene this morning

HAMPSTEAD, N.C. (AP) — A county official says reports of an active shooter at a school in North Carolina on Friday turned out to be malfunctioning water heater.

Shooter report at Topsail High School in North Carolina related to unit malfunction, officials say

I heard dozens [of shots], Smith explained, adding he said a prayer while driving to Topsail High school.

The earlier report of shots fired provoked a massive response by law enforcement and caused the school district to reroute buses and put schools on lockdown.

According to Capt. James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriffs Office, crews searched the entire building, clearing the school room by room but found no evidence of an active shooter.

“Law enforcement responded immediately and it has been determined there is no shooter and no weapon,” Pender County schools said via its Twitter account.

At some point during the morning, law enforcement officials were alerted to a malfunction water heater that could have been the source of the gunfire sound. Officials were able to get to the water heater, which was damaged during Hurricane Florence, and re-created the sound.

The school district added that the report of an active shooter came after “noises were heard coming from the top of the building.”

Reports of active shooter at NC school turns out to be malfunctioning water heater

I was sure it was not gunfire over an hour ago, said Commissioner David Williams, who is also the assistant coach for the varsity football team. I also coach football there. Lately (during practice), weve been hearing a piece of mechanical equipment go bam bam bam. It made us the first time we heard it turn around.

Williams said he has heard the sound personally and can understand how someone might hear it and make a report. He thinks it could be a remnant problem from Hurricane Florence, explaining the sound is up high, near the roof line and faces the back of the building.

Obviously I was worried, Williams said. My son goes to school there. My daughter just graduated.


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