FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — A 15-year-old student was shot in the neck with what appeared to be a small-caliber bullet during a lunch period outside a North Carolina high school Monday, and police have not been able to find the gun or any suspects.
Catilyn Abercrombie was in fair condition after surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, according to sheriff’s office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna. Abercrombie was able to respond to questions by nodding and shaking her head, Tanna said. Cape Fear High School and a nearby middle school were locked down for hours before students were allowed to go home.
Police were still combing the rural, wooded area on the outskirts of Fayetteville, searching for clues.
“Right now, we don’t know what happened or who’s responsible,” Tanna said.
Police are investigating several possibilities concerning how the shooting might have happened Tanna said, including the chance that it might have been an accident. The area is popular with hunters, and hunting season is under way.
“There is nothing in stone as to what happened today,” she said.
A police officer assigned to the school was standing near Abercrombie when she was shot at about 1 p.m. and immediately called 911, Tanna said.
Students from Mac Williams Middle School were sent home before their high school counterparts, who were still gradually leaving the campus by 6 p.m. Students were searched by police and left the building in long lines holding their hands above their heads before boarding buses that took them from campus.
Cumberland County school officials plan to have heightened security in place for when classes start on Tuesday.
“There will be metal detectors and beefed up security inside both schools,” Tanna said. “Some parents have said they don’t plan to send their kids to school. Those who do come can be assured there will be increased security on both campuses.”