Local News

Teen Arrested After Taking Student, Teacher Hostage In Chapel Hill

Posted April 25, 2006 9:51 a.m. EDT

— No one was injured early Monday evening when shots were fired during a hostage situation at

East Chapel Hill High School

, where a student and teacher were held at gunpoint.

School officials said that at about 5 p.m., a 17-year-old male student went onto the campus at

500 Weaver Dairy Road

, where he allegedly held a female student and female teacher hostage in a classroom for about an hour.

Chapel Hill police spokeswoman Jane Cousins said the assailant fired a shotgun twice, but not at the women, whom school officials identified as civics teacher Lisa Kukla and student Chelsea Slagle. School officials did not know why the assailant held them hostage, but said it appeared to be random.

Stephanie Knott, a Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system spokeswoman, said the teacher was able to talk the suspect out of shooting them. However, the suspect wanted to shoot his gun, so they told him to fire his gun out the classroom window.

Knott said the assailant fired the weapon twice and ran off. The teacher later went to get the school resource officer.

The suspect was later taken into custody and was taken to UNC Hospitals, where authorities were interviewing him. Charges against the suspect are pending. WRAL-TV knows the name of the suspect, but is not releasing his identity until he is officially charged.

School officials said the suspect went home and told his mother what happened and that she drove him to the hospital.

A junior varsity girl's soccer game was under way at the school at the time of the incident, but everyone in the stadium was ushered inside the gymnasium, and the school was put on lockdown.

School officials said Kukla handled the situation extremely well and saved not only their lives but the lives of others there as well.

"Ms. Kukla, in particular, is to be praised for her wonderful crisis management," Knott said. "The school went into lockdown as soon as they became aware of the situation. That procedure and her management of the situation were textbook."

"You never know what can happen. I just thank God it wasn't like a Columbine situation or something of that nature," said parent Jose Dominquez.

Students were allowed to leave at about 7:15 p.m. once officers were certain that a suspect was in custody. East Chapel Hill High parents received a recorded message about the incident Monday night.

Officials said the school will re-open Tuesday, but there will be a heightened police presence. Crisis counselors are also expected to be on campus.