Local News

Gunshot on Chapel Hill school bus prompts security concerns

Posted April 15, 2010

— Police from Chapel Hill and Carrboro detained a man near Chapel Hill High School Thursday morning after a shot was fired on a school bus.

An unknown number of students were on the bus at the time, but no injuries were reported.

Chapel Hill High School campus Bus shooting puts four schools on lockdown

The shooting occurred shortly before 10:45 a.m. Schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro district were operating on a delayed schedule used one Thursday each month to give teachers planning time.

Police said the gunman fired a shot into the floor of the bus and then fled onto Chapel Hill High property, prompting a lockdown at the school.

Smith Middle School, Seawell Elementary School and Morris Grove Elementary School were placed on "soft" lockdown while police searched for the gunman, school district spokeswoman Stephanie Knott said. Under that scenario, students were allowed to change classrooms, but no one was allowed into or out of the building.

Aaron Mario Small, 18, of 215 Homestead Road in Chapel Hill, was found inside a home on Jubilee Drive about a half-hour after the incident, police said. Officers also recovered a .22-caliber revolver that they believe was used.

Small was charged with possession of a weapon on school property, discharging a weapon on school property, resisting a public officer and injury to real property. He was being held Thursday in the Orange County jail under a $15,100 bond.

The three "soft" lockdowns were lifted by 11:30 a.m., and the lockdown at Chapel Hill High ended shortly after noon.

Chapel Hill High students said they weren't immediately told the reason for the lockdown, and some said they thought the threat might be inside the building.

"There was a split second where I originally thought that my safety was in danger," senior Pasan Prera said. "It's out of the ordinary around here."

Others said they weren't surprised by the incident.

"I'm sure there are guns in the school every day," parent Jackie Swank said. "Our kids have to come to school. It's important to get their education, but when safety is an issue, you worry as a parent."

Chapel Hill High has metal detectors, but they aren't used every day as students enter school. Knott said district administrators would review the incident to determine whether any security policies or procedures need to be changed.

"You hear about this stuff on the news all the time, and you hear about it happening other places in the country, but you never think it's going to happen here– so close to you," senior Devon Rohe said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • coffeecup Apr 16, 2010

    Sure glad I live in Durham ... Chapel Hill looks scary!

  • ConcernedNCC Apr 16, 2010

    They say that the metal detectors aren't used every day. They probably have a schedule that they hand out to students to warn them of which days to leave their weapons at home.

  • c2sides Apr 16, 2010

    Wondering also how this happened just y't'day but is already relegated to the second page of the local WRAL enews. A shooting on a school bus used to get a little more drama than that. sheesh. Glen Frey's "Dirty Laundry" comes to mind with so many of the stories these days.

  • c2sides Apr 16, 2010

    this could never happen in Chapel Hill. They don't have guns there. They all live in peace and harmony with their rainbows and lollipops and unicorns. This must be a mistake. Call out all the good liberals for a love-in protest***********

    don't forget "in their neighborhood schools" cher. CH has its share of closet tea party-ists.

  • Keyboard Toughy Apr 15, 2010

    Poor fella. He's just a victim himself. It's not his fault. He was forced into criminal activity. His momma didn't provide him hugs on a daily basis. If the police had never arrested him for the very first crime he committed he would have been able to get a job and would have been at work when this happened. Isn't that right Susan Seahorn?

  • Sophie Lowe Apr 15, 2010

    They will probably put metal detectors at every door now, of course that would not have prevented the crime, but the liberals in Chapel Hill will feel safer.

  • gingerlynn Apr 15, 2010

    He is 20 not 18! And it looks like he will be sitting in the orange county jail for his other court dates

  • turtledove Apr 15, 2010

    Good lord if this had a been a story that happened in Durham there would be hundreds of posters slamming the Bull City. Trust me folks there are problems in Chapel Hill just like anywhere else. The only difference is the "Most Livable City" knows how to bury the story and if the kid had of been Caucasian you would have never heard about it in the news in the first place.

  • winfieldchem Apr 15, 2010

    With very few exceptions, everybody in prison first went to public schools. By the time some students reach high school, they have already begun a life a crime.

  • gingerlynn Apr 15, 2010

    Aaron Mario Small, 20,A suspect believed to be responsible for discharging a weapon on a school bus has been taken into custody, according to Chapel Hill police.

    Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/04/15/438582/suspect-in-custody-for-reportedly.html#ixzz0lCljm6UX