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Safety concerns prompt action at schools in Cabarrus and Rowan

A Cabarrus County elementary school went on lockdown Wednesday morning after authorities were told that a “man with a gun” was spotted near the school.

Meanwhile, Rowan County officials say they have assigned extra deputies at a high school after authorities received word on Twitter of some type of threat.

The Cabarrus situation was at Bethel Elementary School, near the town of Midland. The Cabarrus County Sheriff’s Office says it received a call about a man wearing camouflage carrying a long gun near the school, which is northwest of the N.C. 24-U.S. 601 intersection.

“After extensive coverage and investigation, it was discovered that the man in question was a local resident from the area who hunts, and was seen by a passerby,” the sheriff’s office said in a news statement.

The sheriff’s office says such calls are always taken seriously, but given the fatal shootings of 20 students and six staff members last Friday at a Connecticut elementary school, “everyone is on heightened alert to things like this.”

The sheriff’s office says it is reminding hunters to be aware of how their presence might be perceived to others who see them -- especially following the shootings last week.

One man who commented on the sheriff’s office Facebook page wrote, “The best thing to do is not hunt near any school right now -- common sense.”

The sheriff’s office later said the hunter was not on school property and was about a half-mile from Bethel Elementary.

In Rowan County, officials at East Rowan High say they are reacting to some type of threat spread on Twitter in recent days. The sheriff’s office says several additional deputies will be at the school the rest of the week, up to the Christmas break.

WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner, says the student responsible for the Twitter message has been identified and dealt with.

WCNC-TV contributed

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