HENDERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WSPA) – Henderson County Public Schools and Hendersonville Police Department officials said an area middle school was placed on a Code Red lockdown Tuesday morning after a student discharged a firearm on campus, injuring another student.
According to a joint news release, officers responded to the Hendersonville Middle School at around 7:45 a.m. for an incident involving a firearm on campus.
“The Hendersonville Police Department received a phone call from the school that a shot had been fired inside the gymnasium of the school. As the SRO and other officers arrived, they found … the individual involved in the shooting had already been secured. The weapon that had been used was secured,” Hendersonville Police Chief Bill Hollingsed said. “We went from there to first-aid mode, providing first-aid for the victim. At this point, all students had been removed from the campus, everybody is in fact safe. That was priority No. 1 is the safety of the students, as well as the staff here at the school.”
“The individual involved in the shooting is currently at the Hendersonville Police Department. He is there with his parents,” Hollingsed said. “The victim in the shooting has been transported to Mission Hospital. We have received word from the hospital that she is in stable condition at this time.”
A joint statement released earlier from Henderson County Public Schools and Hendersonville Police Department revealed that the 12-year-old girl injured in the shooting was shot in the leg.
“Our patient from the event at Hendersonville Middle School is in good, stable condition and resting comfortably. Her family requests privacy at this time. Thank you,” according to a statement from Nancy Lindell, a spokesperson for Mission Hospital.
The student who fired the handgun is a 13-year-old boy and the victim is a 12-year-old girl.
Hendersonville Police have charged the boy with Felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Intent to Kill or Inflict Serious Injury and Weapon on Campus or Other Educational Property.
Police said the juvenile has been released into the custody of juvenile services.
According to the Hollingsed, around 35 people were inside the gym at the time of the incident, and they are currently gathering and going through witness statements as they try to determine the intent of the student who shot the other student.
“This is the type of day that as a school system we simply do not want to have efforts to have to respond to, but we are proud to say that that’s exactly what took place today,” John Bryant, associate superintendent for Administrative Services with Henderson County Public Schools, said. “That we had a staff that responded immediately, students who responded responsibly and immediately and law enforcement partners that knew how to immediately support that work.”
Bus riders started to dismiss from the school at 10:15 a.m. and car riders started to dismiss at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday.
Parents and guardians of students were contacted by administrators and were given specific procedures following the incident at the school.
“We want to highlight the swift response provided by school administrators, the HMS School Resource Officer, local law enforcement and first responders who quickly secured the scene,” according to the release. ”
On Wednesday, Blair Craven, chair of the Henderson County Board of Education, issued the following statement:
“I was shocked and saddened to hear about the events that unfolded yesterday morning at– Blair Craven
Hendersonville Middle School. While we have protocols and response plans in place for any
crisis or tragic act of violence on a school campus, we certainly hoped we would never have
to put them into action. I want to thank the staff of HMS, local law enforcement, and
emergency personnel for their swift, seamless, and courageous response to the shooting. We
truly have the best of the best in Henderson County. This incident is still an active
investigation. As more information comes in, district leadership and school system staff will
work with investigators to further continue our deliberate efforts to increase student and staff
safety each day moving forward. My heart goes out to the victim of this senseless act, and
the students and families who are feeling fear and uncertainty in the aftermath. We remain
resolute in our commitment to providing the safest learning environments possible for every
child under our care.”
Henderson County Public Schools officials also gave an update on the shooting victim, said she is “doing very well, is in high spirits, and expects to be released from the hospital soon.”
An investigation into the shooting incident remains ongoing at this time.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Hendersonville Police Department at 828-697-3025.