Police are responding to reports of an active shooter at a North Carolina high school.
According to KFox14 reporter Kelly Anne Beile, a call came in at 6:30 a.m. ET Friday morning of a report of an active shooter inside Topsail High School in Hampstead, North Carolina, located about 20 miles north of Wilmington, North Carolina.
As of 7 a.m., Capt. James Rowell with the Pender County Sheriff’s Office said that no injuries had been reported but it was still an active scene. Currently, no suspect has been identified.
WECT News 6 reports that Topsail High School, Topsail Middle School, and Topsail Elementary School are in lockdown.
We are praying for situation at our Topsail high school. We know there has been some shots fired but believe they have subject contained. But this situation is fluid and law enforcement is responding and on-scene... //t.co/GOYt8jqpCK— LWC (@LWC2T4) November 9, 2018
According to Commissioner George Brown, a piece of equipment at the school campus, a water heater, has been malfunctioning in recent days, emitting a sound similar to gunfire. Pender County Emergency Director Tom Collins said that the malfunctioning pice of equipment could possibly be responsible for the noise.
“I was sure it was not gunfire over an hour ago,” Commissioner David Williams said, who is also the assistant coach for the varsity football team, said. “I also coach football there. Lately (during practice), we’ve been hearing a piece of mechanical equipment go ‘bam bam bam.’ It made us the first time we heard it turn around.”
The water heater was reportedly damaged during Hurricane Florence.
Just about to take my child to school at Topsail High School when one of her friends called to tell her not to come because of a shooter.
This is the second time in less than a year. //t.co/71nCgbCSJB— Marlon Weems (@GeekTrader) November 9, 2018
Williams also praised law enforcement officials for their quick response.
“They did exactly the right thing. Law Enforcement did what they’re supposed to do,” he said. “There’s no such thing as an over response.”
The sheriff’s office is expected to hold a news conference in the coming hours.
As of 8:30 a.m., the Pender County Sheriff's Office confirmed there was no evidence of an active shooter.
This is the second time in 2018 that Topsail High School has been placed on a lockdown for an apparent active shooter. In May, the school was placed under a “code red” lockdown for roughly three hours after students brought a number of weapons onto campus. One student entered the school armed with a semiautomatic rifle, according to Seacoastonline.com. He claimed that he was attempting to stop a rumored school shooter.