Local News

Suspect in Hoke teacher attack arrested

Posted December 7, 2017 3:10 p.m. EST
Updated December 8, 2017 4:08 p.m. EST

— A man suspected of attacking a teacher at a Hoke County school this week was arrested Thursday in Robeson County, authorities said.

Michael Lee Nivens, 34, is charged with attempted first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. He was being held in the Hoke County jail under a $2 million bond.

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

"She had head shots, several head wounds, I think, lacerations and a concussion," Hole County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said. "She had some wounds on her hands and arms where she tried to block the strikes."

The teacher, whose name hasn't been released, was taken to Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville for treatment, and is recuperating at home.

The afterschool program is in another part of the school, so no students were nearby when the teacher was attacked. Extra counselors were at the school this week to help students and staff.

Nivens also was charged in connection with a sex assault and break-ins at several Hoke County churches.

"When they started looking at photos (and) some of the evidence from this case, they started making comparisons, and it was like, 'Hey, this has got to be the same guy,'" Peterkin said.

Nivens faces charges of first-degree forcible rape and first-degree forcible sex offense in the assault and four counts each of breaking and entering a place of worship and larceny after breaking and entering and one count of conspiracy to break and enter a place of worship in the church break-ins. He also was charged with larceny of a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm by a felon, obtaining property by false pretense and failure to appear in court on an assault on a female charge.

Peterkin said more charges are possible as deputies continue their investigation.