Chapel Hill, N.C. — Chapel Hill police were holding Ali Cherfaoui Friday night on charges he shot and killed a woman outside Mary Scroggs Elementary School. Police said Cherfaoui and his victim, Chahnaz Kebaier, had "an ongoing domestic dispute."
Police were called to the school just after 2 p.m., after multiple gun shots rang out.
"A lady ran in the lobby and said, 'Help! Help! My friend has been shot!'" said Emily Martine, who was inside the school picking up some papers.
Martine said she and others hid in a conference room while the principal and school nurse ran to help Kebaier.
"The school staff, they did a great job. They were very calm and collected and called police right away," she said.
Police confirmed that Kabaier was shot multiple times. She was taken to UNC Hospitals where she died.
Officers arrested the suspect after stopping his vehicle near N.C. Highway 15-501 and Raleigh Road. Cherfaoui, 49, of N.C. Highway 54 in Carrboro, will spend the holiday weekend in jail; his first chance to see a judge will come on Tuesday.
Mary Scroggs Elementary School, which usually dismisses students at 2:30 p.m., was temporarily locked down while police and emergency personnel cleared the shooting scene. Students later escorted out a back door to their waiting parents.
Martine's son, 8-year-old Cal, said students knew someone had been hurt.
Parent Bill Ryan said he quickly went to Scroggs to check on his first-grader, Jack, after getting an email from the school.
"I was concerned (after receiving the school's email), but when I got a frantic phone call from my wife, that sort of upped the ante a little bit. I tried to reassure her," he said.
Ryan said the school handled the situation "very well" and added that he is thankful the students and staff are safe.
Students have off Monday for Memorial Day, but it is an optional teacher work day.
Chapel Hill-Carrboro schools will provide a support team Monday and Tuesday for staff and student who want to talk about Friday's incident.