GOLDSBORO – A gunman with a rifle entered a community college campus building Monday morning and killed a print shop operator who had just arrived at work, school officials and authorities said.
The two men knew each other but it’s not immediately clear what led to the shooting, according to authorities, who are searching for Kenneth Stancil. Authorities do not believe the shooting was random.
Police have swept the Wayne Community College campus and think Stancil has fled. They are using helicopters and dogs to search for him nearby.
Lane was a long-time campus employee. He was shot to death on the third floor of the Wayne Learning Center, which houses the cafeteria and library, school spokeswoman Tara Humphries said.
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“There has been one fatality, and there is one shooter,” said Kim Best, spokeswoman for the city of Goldsboro, where the school is located.
A student told The Associated Press that he heard a single gunshot and saw officers with their guns drawn storming into the learning center.
First-year student Jovaun Williams, 24, was climbing the staircase inside the building and had almost reached the second floor when he heard a single muffled pop.
It took a minute, he said, for him to recognize the sound was that of a gunshot similar to the kind he heard growing up in a tough neighborhood near Long Beach, California. He didn’t know where it came from.
“You hear a shot and my biggest things is, get out of there,” he said. “It definitely wasn’t where I was at, so that was good enough for me.”
By the time he walked back downstairs, he saw police officers running into the building with their guns drawn.
Authorities have described Stancil as a white man, about 5-foot-11, with a goatee and a tattoo over his eye.
First-year Student Joniece Simmons, 19, said she was sitting on a bench outside the learning center building when two officers with rifles and a third with a drawn handgun ran toward the building, shouting for students to take cover in a safe place. She and others ran inside to the cafeteria and locked the door.
Though they were urged to stay silent, some students still wanted to talk. “I was like ‘hush, it’s serious.’ I was crying,” Simmons said.
The college campus, which is about an hour from Raleigh, went into lockdown mode shortly after the shooting was reported Monday morning.
“This is not a drill,” the pop-up alert read on the campus website. “The entire campus is on lockdown.”
A Twitter account for the Goldsboro News-Argus tweeted photos of SWAT officers and reported that school employees and personnel were being evacuated as an active shooter was sought.
At about 9:20 a.m., the Goldsboro News-Argus reported via Twitter that Tara Humphries, Wayne Community College, said police have one suspect “under control.”
Check back to charlotteobserver.com for more on this developing story.
Observer staff writer Elisabeth Arriero contributed