WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – A New Hanover High School student was dangerously close to the area where a 15-year-old allegedly shot another student following a fight at the school Monday morning.
Avery Dameron, a sophomore, said he was getting ready to cross the catwalk at the school when a fight between multiple students led to the shooting. According the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, 15-year-old Chance Deablo has been taken into custody and charged with attempted first-degree murder.
“I was about to walk on the catwalk, and I heard them, I heard the shots ring out and I saw all of those people there,” Dameron said. “I had no idea what was going on. And then all of the people, they started running, and then I realized, ‘yeah, that was a shooting.’ So I ducked behind a corner before this whole flood of people came at me.
“It’s gonna be weird to walk down the catwalk and know that somebody got shot there. I guess things will look different going forward, but I’m not sure”
According to the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office, the injured student is expected to live.
On a video of a fight at the school purportedly connected to Monday’s shooting, three gunshots can be clearly heard.
“I was standing right behind this huge crowd of people really, really close to where it happened,” Dameron said. “But there was so many people watching the fight that I just thought that it was people moving but then I heard the shots and I realized that was pretty bad.
“And once people started screaming and running, I was just like overwhelmed, I didn’t really know what to do, just kind of blanking out, and then I finally just brought myself together and ran.”
Dameron said he ran to the nearest classroom where students hid in a closet.
“People were banging on the door and the cops were trying to figure out where everyone was at because everybody locked the doors,” he said. “… the sheriffs banged on the doors and were like, ‘Put your hands in the air! Put your hands in the air!’ and we just walked out. They escorted us out.”
After the shooting, New Hanover High School’s students were sent to Williston. Parents were then able to pick of their children Monday afternoon at the Martin Luther King Center.
“Devastated. It’s pretty scary (expletive) to hear, do you know what I mean? So I jumped in my truck and came straight here,” said Sean Mathis, whose son attends New Hanover High.
“I just wish that it would stop. I wish that it would stop,” said Wayne Moore, a parent of Williston Middle School student. “I wish that people would put their pride aside and realize that they’re not just only jeopardizing them, They’re jeopardizing a whole bunch of other people that ain’t got nothing to do with what’s going on.”
Parents, waiting for hours for their students to be released from the MLK Center, expressed frustration about how the incident could have happened.
Many wondered if the shooter was still on the run and if their child had been hurt in the incident. One parent said he was concerned that officials hadn’t identified the shooter and he or she could still be among the students after they were evacuated to Williston Middle School.
“They ain’t give us no information,” said Mathis. “They ain’t told us if anyone was injured. They just said there was a school shooting so all these parents are out here trying to figure out what’s going on. Do you know what I mean? I wanna make sure my kid is okay and get him home.”
Mathis was relieved to finally find out that he would be able to reunite with his son this afternoon. However, after the entire ordeal, he doesn’t know that he feels comfortable sending him back to class.
New Hanover County officials said a crisis intervention line has been set up in response to Monday’s shooting. The phone line, available in English and Spanish, will be open Monday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Students, parents, and staff are encouraged to call 910-798-6501 to speak with a mental health therapist from the county health department.
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