Active Shooter Report In North Carolina Turns Out To Be Malfunctioning Water Heater

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UPDATE: County officials say a malfunctioning water heater caused noises confused for the sounds of gunshots. The school is still on lockdown as a precaution, according to the Pender Schools Twitter page.

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. — A report of an active shooter at Topsail High School sparked law enforcement response Friday morning.

Pender County Emergency Management Director  Tom Collins believes the gunfire sound was not gunfire.

“There’s no active shooter,” Collins said, according to the Wilmington StarNews. “It’s a malfunctioning water heater.”

WTVD reports the call came in at about 6:30 a.m. Friday morning.

There were no injuries, Pender County Sheriff’s Capt. James Rowell told WWAY.


Parents and students gathered at a Lowe’s Foods across the street, WECT reports. The school district asked staff from Topsail elementary, middle and high schools to meet at the grocery store.

The school district released a statement afterward on Twitter.

“There was a report of an active shooter situation at Topsail high School this morning after noises were heard coming from the top of the building,” the statement said. “Law enforcement responded immediately and it has been determined there is no shooter and no weapon.”

The lockdown for Topsail High, Middle and Elementary schools was lifted about 9:30 a.m. local time when staff members were allowed to enter. Buses were running once again, but on a 3-hour delay, the school district said.

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