Two suspects are still at large after a shooting at a North Carolina community college which plunged students and staff into lockdown – just days after six victims were killed in a mass shooting at a Nashville elementary school.
Winston-Salem Police said that officers responded to reports of shots fired on the main campus of Forsyth Tech Community College in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at 10.10am on Thursday morning.
Forsyth Tech sent an “active shooter” alert urging all students, staff and faculty members to shelter in place.
“We are experiencing an active shooter situation. Law enforcement is on site. The campus is on lockdown with shelter in place for all students, faculty and staff,” the alert said.
At around 11.50am, police and the college gave updates saying that there was no active shooter on the campus.
“We can confirm there is no active shooter on the campus of Forsyth Tech. There is still an active investigation on the campus. There are no other threats to any other schools in the area,” police said.
At around 12.30pm, police said that “students with WS/FC schools that were on the FTCC campus are currently being sent back to their home schools. Parents can pick up students at their school”.
Some students were seen leaving the campus, with parents and their children beginning to be reunited.
It is currently unclear if there are any injuries or fatalities from the incident.
While officials have now confirmed there is no active shooting, the situation remains fluid and two male suspects remain at large.
The suspects are described as armed and dressed in grey and black hoodies, reported WXII12.
Multiple law enforcement teams are on the scene, drones have been sent up into the air and a helicopter is circling above the school in the search for the armed suspects.
Nearby schools are also sheltering in place while parents have arrived on the scene to find their children.
Darius Taylor, a student at Forsyth Tech, told Fox8 that he was in a studio on the first floor of the Strickland Center when shots were fired somewhere in the vicinity of the campus building.
He said that he received an alert from the school and officials quickly arrived to escort students to a safe location outside of the police perimeter.
“It’s just something you don’t expect” said Mr Taylor.
“The look of sheer terror on my professor’s face when he told us there was an active shooter alert is something I can’t erase from my mind.”
The shooting unfolded at a time when students from Stokes County Schools were on a field trip at the college campus.
The school superintendent released a statement confirming that all Stokes County students are unharmed.
“While I do not have all of the details, I can confirm there were Stokes County Schools students on Forsyth Tech’s campus at the time of the shooting. All Students have been accounted for and are safe,” the superintendent said.
“Stokes County district administration and school staff are on site and have confirmed sixteen students from West Stokes, 14 students from South Stokes, and one student from North Stokes were on campus and are being held there by law enforcement. The main bus from North Stokes had not arrived yet and that bus was re-routed back to North Stokes.
“As soon as our students are released, they will come directly back to their school campuses.
“This is still an ongoing investigation, and more information will be made available in the coming hours. Again, there were students from Stokes County Schools on a field trip to Forsyth Tech during the shooting; however, all students and staff who were on these field trips have been accounted for and are safe.
“We do not anticipate there is a threat to any of our schools in Stokes County at this time; however, we have been in contact with our local law enforcement and will be providing extra security to our school’s this afternoon.”
Forsyth Tech is a public community college in Winston-Salem, which currently has an enrollment of over 10,000 credit students and over 8,000 continuing education students, according to its website.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 911 or WSPD non emergency at 336-773-7700