HUNTERSVILLE – Central Piedmont Community College’s Huntersville campus off Verhoeff Drive was locked down for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning as police searched the area on foot and with a helicopter after a student thought he saw another student with a gun. The nearby Lake Norman Charter School also was briefly on lockdown. In the end, the weapon turned out to be a paintball gun
Huntersville police said Wednesday afternoon they received a call around 10:27am from security officials at the CPCC Merancas Campus saying that a student on campus might have a handgun. A student told police he saw two white males in the campus parking lot with a weapon.
CPCC officials then locked down the campus while officers searched the property. Lake Norman Charter High School and Middle School also were placed on lockdown, “due to the close proximity to where the weapon was last seen in the CPCC campus parking lot,” according to police.
A search by Huntersville police and a Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department helicopter turned up no suspects.
Huntersville police said the witness gave a description and license plate number for the suspects’ vehicle, and they tracked the car to the unidentified workplace of one man. Police interviewed the car’s owner, a CPCC student, who said he had been at the campus Wednesday morning but left to go to work before officers arrived.
In a statement Wednesday afternoon, Huntersville police said the suspicious weapon turned out to be a paintball gun. “It was determined that the second suspect was not involved. Officers will not be pursuing charges in relation to this incident at this time,” Huntersville police said.
CPCC officials said in a post on the college website at 11:27am that students and staff had been ordered to stay where they were, with nobody coming or going. “The Merancas Campus (Huntersville) is currently sheltering in place. Huntersville Police are in the vicinity near the campus, searching for a potential suspect. Suspend travel to this location until further notice. Further information will be available as it develops.”
At 11:45am Huntersville Police spokesman Barry Graham reported: “A student thought they saw another student with a weapon in their vehicle. We have not confirmed there was a weapon, but the vehicle is not at school anymore. We are being extra cautious due to the schools being involved.”
At 11:55am, Graham said the CPCC campus had reopened. He said no arrests had been made and that police were continuing to investigate. “We are trying to follow up on leads, but nothing for now.”
At 12:11pm, CPCC offered an update, saying operations had returned to normal at the Huntersville campus.
Lake Norman Charter School also was on lockdown after the incident, which began after 11am. School officials said at 12:15pm they were getting ready to end the lockdown.
Public safety officials reported that kids were safe, and that safety procedures were being followed.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Huntersville Deputy Chief Michael Kee at 704-464-5400.