By WECT Staff | April 21, 2021 at 12:21 PM EDT – Updated April 21 at 11:42 PM
LELAND, N.C. (WECT) – The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said investigators have determined that a bullet that damaged a Lincoln Elementary teacher’s vehicle was fired while the teacher was at home and not while they were on school grounds.
Sheriff John Ingram said investigators who were canvassing the area found the bullet projectile in the teacher’s driveway and not near the school. He added that the bullet was likely fired from a considerable distance since it didn’t penetrate the car’s hood.
Investigators suspect the car was damaged at some point between Monday morning and Tuesday morning.
The investigation is still ongoing. Ingram is encouraging residents to report gunfire when they hear it.
Earlier Wednesday, a phone message from Principal Pamela Biggs was sent out to parents of Lincoln Elementary students, alerting them about the bullet damage to the teacher’s car.
At the time, it had not been determined when the car was damaged, so, as a precaution, the school paused all outdoor activities for students while the sheriff’s office investigated.
“The sheriff’s office is conducting a thorough investigation and we appreciate all of their efforts in canvassing the area and interviewing community members to try and determine what happened,” Biggs stated in the message which was sent out around noon.
No injuries were reported.
“Please know your child’s security is our number one priority and we wanted to make sure you were aware of the investigation,” the message stated.
A spokesperson for Brunswick County Schools said the district does not plan to release any additional comments Wednesday regarding the incident.
Back in November, a 6-year-old child was struck in the jaw by a bullet projectile while outside on school property. Deputies said the bullet was likely fired at a great distance and that incident didn’t appear to be malicious.
Sheriff John Ingram said these incidents show the importance of gun safety in a growing community.
“I encourage everybody, all the gun owners, to conduct business in a safe manner,” said Ingram. “People are going to fire their weapons in practice, target practice, whatever it might be. In the end they have to do it in a safe manner so we don’t jeopardize the safety of others around them.”
Ingram said the latest string of events are stressful and believes the incident could be a result of neighbors not using their weapons in a safe way.
“It’s very frustrating for us when we have such a rural community — people spread out over large areas — and we have people that are out firing a weapon and they do not take the necessary precautions to ensure that the projectiles will be stopped adequately with a backstop like it should be,” said Ingram.
Ingram and the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office ask residents to be proactive and to report any gunfire. He says no gunfire was reported on Monday or Tuesday before the bullet hole was discovered.
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