A Union County high school student who had knives, fireworks and a “hit list” in his book bag on Tuesday might have been bullied, authorities said Wednesday.
“We would assume that there was some trouble that happened if some names were mentioned,” sheriff’s Deputy A.J. Wallace said at a news conference, according to Observer news partner WBTV. The Forest Hills High student was never known to cause problems, he said.
Sheriff Eddie Cathey said the student will be charged but is now at a facility receiving counseling. He is under the age of 16, so his name will not be released.
Wallace is assigned as a resource officer at Forest Hills. He searched the book bag after the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation received intelligence information from a Canadian law enforcement agency that the student intended to stab several other students at the school on Tuesday. The “hit list” named nine to 12 students, according to WSOC-TV.
The book bag also contained a bottle of flammable liquid and a dismantled shotgun shell, the sheriff’s office said.
“The student hadn’t had any issues or discipline issues,” Wallace said. “And so when we spoke to him he was very calm.”
Investigators are interviewing those on the “hit list” to glean more information about the student.
“What friends he had, what they knew,” Cathey said, according to WBTV. “What the students that were named – what they knew and what interaction they had had with him to cause him to get this line of thinking.”
Extra police were at the school on Wednesday and will stay as long as needed, WBTV reported.