A 15-year-old North Carolina girl has been hospitalized in stable condition after she was shot in the neck outside her high school.
Caitlyn Abercrombie was eating lunch outside of Cape Fear High School in Cape Fear, N.C., Monday when three adults and some nearby students said they heard a popping sound and saw her fall over. None of the witnesses said that they saw anyone with a gun.
"I didn't see a weapon, I did not see a gunman, I just heard the popping, and I saw her drop and holding her neck. You could see the blood pouring out," fellow student Shane Faircloth said.
Surveillance video helped police identify Ta'Von McLaurin, 18, and a 15-year-old whose name has not been released because of his age as suspects in the shooting, Cumberland County Sheriff Earl "Moose" Butler said Monday evening at a news conference.
Charges are expected to be filed against the two once police are finished questioning them, Butler said. It is believed that the suspects will be charged with firing a weapon on government property, authorities said.
Police found a .22 Daisy rifle and shell casings on the grounds of the school, near Fayetteville, where the shooting occurred at around 1 p.m.
Questions have been raised in the community about how two students were able to bring a rifle into the school undetected after it was stated by investigators that they believe the two attended class today and brought the rifle onto school property.
Sheriff Butler told ABC affiliate station WTVD-TV in Raleigh that he believes they hid the weapon in a pant leg or a shirt arm .
"This is uncalled for and it's hard to believe that something like this should happen," Butler said.
Cumberland County Superintendent Franklin Till said it was a normal, quiet lunch period when shots broke out. He said there was no suspicious activity going on before the shooting.
Cape Fear High School and nearby Mac Williams Middle School were placed on lockdown after the shooting.
Armed SWAT teams combed the area and were able to recover a single casing in a nearby breezeway and the rifle near the scene. The SWAT team searched students as they exited the school and escorted them to a nearby football field.
From her hospital bed Abercrombie was able to nod her head, which WTVD reported may have helped investigators take the two suspects into custody. Authorities said that the suspects were soon arrested at their respective homes in Cumberland County.
Butler said that classes at Cape Fear High School will go on as usual on Tuesday, and that on Tuesday metal detectors will be used for security and extra deputies will be in the halls.
Parents who gathered outside the school to wait for their children told WTVD there was speculation about gang-related activity, and that an incident that occurred earlier this month might have been related to today's shooting.
Gwen Collins, a mother of a Cape Fear student, said that her children warned her something might happen at school Monday.
"They had texted me earlier this morning…momma come get me. Some stuff is getting ready to happen at school," Collins told WTVD.
"They posted on Facebook that this is not the end of it, that they're gonna come back and finish," one concerned parent told WTVD.
School officials and police, however, said that gang activity was not related to the shooting.