‘Ac­tive shooter’ was just a faulty wa­ter heater

The News & Observer - - Triangle & N.c. - — STAFF RE­PORTS

Po­lice re­sponded Fri­day morn­ing to re­ports of an ac­tive shooter at Top­sail High School in east­ern North Carolina, but of­fi­cials later de­ter­mined a faulty wa­ter heater was to blame for the scare, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal re­ports.

“There’s no ac­tive shooter,” said Pen­der County Emer­gency Man­age­ment Di­rec­tor Tom Collins, re­ported the StarNews in Wilm­ing­ton. “It’s a mal­func­tion­ing wa­ter heater.”

The county school sys­tem no­ti­fied par­ents of a re­ported ac­tive shooter in a tweet. Au­thor­i­ties were alerted around 6:30 a.m., ac­cord­ing to ABC11, The News & Ob­server’s me­dia part­ner.

School buses headed for the school were be­ing di­verted to a nearby Lowe’s gro­cery park­ing lot.

Top­sail High School is about 105 miles south­east of Raleigh. It shares a cam­pus with a mid­dle school and an el­e­men­tary school.

The Wilm­ing­ton Star News re­ported that a school em­ployee called 911 to de­scribe a noise that sounded like shoot­ing be­hind the school. When law en­force­ment ar­rived seven min­utes later, they heard loud pops com­ing from the build­ing’s roof.

The gas to the hot wa­ter heater was turned off as of­fi­cers swept the build­ing, then turned back on. Within five min­utes, a pair of of­fi­cers had iden­ti­fied the noise com­ing from the wa­ter heater as the one they’d heard upon ar­rival, the news­pa­per re­ported.

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