Knives, shotgun shells and "hit list" found in student's bookbag in Union County

- Charges are pending against a Union County high school student after authorities say several knives, a bottle of flammable liquid, fireworks, a dismantled shotgun shell and a “hit list” were discovered inside the student's bookbag. 

A Union County Sheriff's deputy working as a School Resource Officer at Forest Hills High School found the weapons and list at the high school on Tuesday. 

The NC State Bureau of Investigation’s ISAAC Unit said they received information from a Canadian law enforcement agency concerning chat room discussions involving threats of violence by a Forest Hills High School student. 

The threats indicated the student intended to “stab” several kids at school on Tuesday, May 9. 

Upon receiving this information, a Sheriff’s Office Captain said they immediately notified Union County Public Schools (UCPS) and the School resource Officer who quickly joined the investigation. 

According to authorities, the “hit list” contained names of multiple individuals and UCPS is in the process of notifying all people named in the list. 

The suspect is under the age of 16 and therefore the identity of this teenager is being withheld at this time, police said. Criminal charges are forthcoming. 

“The deputies and specifically the School Resource Officer, along with Union County Public Schools did an outstanding job of quickly identifying the student involved with the chat room discussions and finding the weapons before a tragedy happened. I also need to thank the SBI and ISAAC for bringing this matter to our attention as quickly as they did," Sheriff Eddie Cathey said. 

Sheriff Cathey also wants to remind parents to speak with their kids and encourage them to talk to school officials or an SRO if they are having problems at school or feel threatened by other students.  He encourages anyone with information about threats of school violence to notify authorities.  

Statement from Union County Public Schools: 

"Keeping students safe is always a priority for Union County Public Schools. We are thankful for our partnership with the Union County Sheriff's Office and want to commend deputies for their immediate response to this matter. We take every threat seriously and staff will continue to work to keep all schools safe. All families at Forest Hills High School have been notified."

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