Several knives, a bottle of flammable liquid, fireworks and a “hit list” were found in a student’s book bag at Forest Hills High in Union County on Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said.
A sheriff’s deputy assigned as a school resource officer 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 Canadian agency uncovered chat room discussions involving threats of violence by the student, the sheriff’s office said.
The “hit list” included names of multiple students, according to the sheriff’s office. Union County Schools notified everyone on the list.
The deputy also found a dismantled shotgun shell in the book bag.
The suspect is under the age of 16, so the sheriff’s office was withholding the student’s name. Criminal charges were forthcoming, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday night.
On Facebook, Sheriff Eddie Cathey praised the quick work of deputies and school officials “to avert a possible mass casualty event today.”
“The deputies and specifically the School Resource Officer, along with Union County Public Schools did an outstanding job of quickly identifying the student involved with the chat room discussions and finding the weapons before a tragedy happened,” Cathey said.
He thanked the SBI and its Information Sharing and Analysis Center unit “for bringing this matter to our attention as quickly as they did.”
Cathey reminded parents to encourage their children to talk to school officials or a school resource officer if they are having problems at school or feel threatened by other students.