State News

Robeson County principal shot in face driving to work

Posted April 9, 2009
Updated April 10, 2009

— A Robeson County middle school principal was shot in the face Thursday as he drove to work, authorities said.

Someone shot Fairmont Middle School Principal James Hunt at about 7:30 a.m. near the intersection of Davis and Iona roads, authorities said. The windows on the passenger and driver's side of his vehicle were shot out.

Fairmont Middle School sign in Robeson County Is principal's shooting school-related?

Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said investigators don't know if the shooting was random or if Hunt was targeted.

Robeson County Schools Superintendent Johnny Hunt, who isn't related, said James Hunt drove 15 miles after he was shot to Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Lumberton. He was later airlifted to Duke University Hospital in Durham.

The superintendent said James Hunt was alert and sitting up, but couldn't speak clearly because of his injury.

"He was in a lot of pain, lost a lot of blood," Johnny Hunt said. "I didn't try to talk to him. I just said, 'Hang in there. We're praying for you.'"

Duke spokeswoman Lauren Shaftel Williams said the hospital doesn't give out information on patients with gunshot wounds.

James Hunt was able to give investigators some details about the shooting, Sealey said. Investigators were following a few leads and planned to talk to a couple of people described as persons of interest, but they had no evidence linking anyone to the shooting, he said.

"I guess his angels were with him," Sealey said, adding that the principal was "very lucky to be alive."

James Hunt has been at Fairmont Middle for less than a year, but he has already become known as someone trying to make a difference in students' lives.

"I think he's a good person. He has a positive attitude," said Sheneka Wilims, a parent of a Fairmont Middle student.

Johnny Hunt said a pickup truck pulled alongside James Hunt's car, and someone fired a shot through the driver's window.

"There's a hole in his left-side window about the size of your fist, and the window on the right side was shattered," Johnny Hunt said.

"He has a lot of damage to his front part of his face, from the midpoint all the way around," the superintendent said. "He was fortunate, if you can call it being fortunate. He's lucky it didn't hit him in his temple or a few inches back, because I don't think he would have survived that."

Guidance counselors at Fairmont Middle talked to students and staff about the incident, Johnny Hunt said. Some parents who mistakenly thought the shooting occurred at school pulled their children out of class early, he said.

"Hopefully it's not school-related," the superintendent said. "It could be anything. You just don't know. You have to be very careful, even in the field of education."

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  • Coach K is still GREAT Apr 10, 2009

    Due_whats_right.What is the system doing to help? What are the kids and parents doing to help themselves? There were many programs at the facility,and I'm sure more have been put in place since i left the field almost 3 years ago from drug rehab groups,to one on one counseling which is what I did. Don't get me wrong, I know that some do change and a lot want to change, but with my experience I've noticed that most want something for nothing. Nothing warms my heart than to see a student that I had in the past come up to me and say that they've suceeded in life and have goals, I was merely stating that the "MAJORITY" of these kids don't want to change. What do you suggest the system does to educate these kids on how to be productive citizens? Let them go out and just continue to commit crimes, rape, murder and deal drugs w/ out dealing with the consequences. Again, go volunteer at a center and see for yourself, since it sounds like to me that you think they are wasting the kids time..

  • E.Scooter Apr 10, 2009

    "nooooooooo we can't spank our kids, that's Child abuse. I was spanked as a child and I've never shot someone in the face. Maybe not a direct correlation but it definitely helped input some speed bumps in my decision making process."

    I agree! I was spanked too (BIG difference from abuse) And I would never dream of doing something like this! Praying for a speedy FULL recovery physically and mentally!

  • spiritalecto Apr 10, 2009

    Get rid of the Constitution? Are you people insane? If you don't agree with the Constitution, move to another country. That outdated piece of paper is what makes this country unique, democratic and is a great part of what allows you to make outlandish comments like that without governmental retribution.

    The real issue here is not guns. The answer is not to make more laws but to better enforce the ones we have. Prison has long been shown to be an inefficient deterrent for criminals, so it's our penal system that needs change, not our gun policy.

  • bradh2 Apr 10, 2009

    OK bradh, so pretend you have to choose one option. You can have higher murder rate but lower robbery rate. Or, you can have lower murder rate but higher robbery rate. Which do you pick?

    I choose to be able to defend myself against those that would commit the acts you list above. How would you defend yourself against someone who wants to cause harm to you or your family harm? If you say The Police, be prepared to wait up to an hour for them to respond.

  • batcave Apr 10, 2009

    Not about guns , it's about the loss of value people place on someones life. It starts at home. People want something tangible to blame , like a gun. Sorry , won't fix the problem.

  • commonsensical Apr 9, 2009

    bradh: Motor vehicles are a big problem in this country too. They kill many more people than guns do, right?

  • due_whats_right Apr 9, 2009

    Coach K - I am sorry you feel that all kids are the same. Perhaps you have left of should leave the juvenile system since you don't even believe in the very people you serve. There is still hope, please don't kill it. Maybe you need to change your location in order to change your outlook. Perhaps if you see the young people who "are" doing, you won't think that every teenage is the same. And may I ask, what is the juvenile system doing to "really" help?

  • due_whats_right Apr 9, 2009

    Coach K - again you judge! I have been an educator for 12 years in 2 urban high schools. I am currently a 2nd year administrator at a 6-12 alternative school, where student there have severe emotional and behavior issues. On any given day I get papers for my juveniles to be locked up from 3 to 10 days, only for them to come back to saying how good the food is in lock up, especially on Sundays. After their shoes are taken and they are on lock, they just chill until their time is over. They come back BRAGGING about begin locked up. I have seniors who cannot read as well as a 3rd grader but are having babies. I hear how they have all the answers on how they are going to make it without an education. BUT inspite of all of that, I also have the PLEASURE of seeing young people prevail, inspite of their environments, cirucumstances and those naysays who would rather lock them up than to expose them to a different life. Can I give up on them - no we have to work harder! Judge not!

  • Hip-Shot Apr 9, 2009

    It's not about guns, it's about the decay of our society. Guns happen to be the tool of choice for a lot of thugs that commit these horrendous crimes. Banning firearms only serves to punish law-abiding citizens. Until our society is fixed we will continue to have these types of incidents.

  • mwilliams2 Apr 9, 2009

    OK bradh, so pretend you have to choose one option. You can have higher murder rate but lower robbery rate. Or, you can have lower murder rate but higher robbery rate. Which do you pick?

    Personally I would rather be robbed than murdered, but, that's just me.

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