Local News

Sheriff: Man walked into Hoke school, attacked teacher

Posted December 5, 2017 10:17 a.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2017 5:19 p.m. EST

— A teacher at West Hoke Elementary School was hurt when she was assaulted inside the school Monday by an unknown man, authorities said.

Hoke County investigators said the man walked into the school, at 6050 Turnpike Road, shortly after 5:30 p.m. through a side door that was left unlocked for parents picking up their children from an afterschool program, asked the teacher about a former employee and then beat her with an unidentified metal object.

The teacher, whose name hasn't been released, was recuperating Tuesday at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville. She suffered injuries to her head, face and hands, authorities said.

"We work hard each and every day to ensure that our students and teachers are safe, so for something like this to happen, it was shocking for me and my staff members," Principal A.J. Hammond said Tuesday.

The afterschool program is in another part of the school, so no students were nearby when the teacher was attacked.

Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said he believes the man planned to steal items from the school when the teacher confronted him, and he tried to cover his tracks before assaulting her. Her screams alerted other staffers in the building, and the man ran off, the sheriff said.

"We're very disappointed in the person who did this – assaulted this teacher – has now become a threat to all of the teachers and students in all of the schools, and we're not going to rest until we find this person. This is serious," Peterkin said.

The assailant was described as a black man, in his 30s, with a slim build. He had facial hair and was wearing a dark-colored jacket and a ski hat.

No arrests have been made, and Peterkin said extra officers have been assigned to the school.

Hammond said the side door to the school is normally locked, and some security procedures might have to be re-examined.

"You have to occasionally leave the door open, and that’s something that we’ve been talking about, but we try to do a good job of securing the building," she said. "In hindsight, I wish there were a lot of things that I could have done for that teacher and for this community."

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the Hoke County Sheriff's Office at 910-875-5111.