CMS responds to social media threats following off-campus shootings

Superintendent Earnest Winston said the district had implemented additional security measures to keep students safe.

A day after local police said feuding students may have been responsible for a drive-by shooting that killed a 3-year-old boy, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools called a press conference Thursday to announce enhance security measures.

Speaking to reporters, Superintendent Earnest Winston reflected on the death of Asiah Figueroa and a recent spate of gun-related crimes in Charlotte.

“There is a 3-year-old child who our staff will not have the chance to meet,” Winston said. “I’m here enlisting the support of the community to help stop this violence. It has to stop.”

Winston did not say what additional security measures would be taken.

The district is currently working with organizations such as the NAACP and the Alternatives to Violence program to assist at-risk students and combat youth violence, he said.

In addition, CMPD and the Huntersville Police Department announced via Twitter that they would provide extra support at some CMS schools.

Last month, CMS relaunched random weapons and safety screenings in response student violence. District officials have found five guns so far this academic year, Winston said.

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This week’s safety concerns were sparked by the drive-by shooting late Tuesday — just before midnight — that killed Figueroa and wounded his 4-year-old sister.

A CMPD official said more than 150 bullets were fired toward the home in northwest Charlotte where the children were asleep. At least 11 people were said to be inside the home when the bullets flew.

As of early Friday, no arrests had been announced.

Two days before the drive-by shooting, 15-year-old Jaylen Xavier Foster was shot and killed in north Charlotte. A 14-year-old juvenile was charged with murder.

CMPD has said the two shootings may have been related.

The police said students at three CMS schools — Hopewell High, North Mecklenburg High, and Julius L. Chambers High — appear to be involved in the feuding.

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In wake of the shootings, threats have surfaced on social media, causing concern among students and parents at these schools.

Winston said CMS had found no evidence that the threats were credible.

“Every situation is different,” he said, “so please be patient while staff will be evaluating every specific situation.”

Logan Henderson, a junior at Hopewell High, said Thursday she was confident in the school’s response to the threats.

“I was scared at first, but I knew my school would take affirmative actions in order to keep their students safe,” she told QCity Metro.

At North Mecklenburg, Gariese Neal, a sophomore, said he and others students remained concerned.

“There is so much anxiety from my classmates, and including myself,” he said. “We know that this is not a safe situation.”

Neal said attendance was low at his school on Thursday. In one of his classes, he said, only nine of 20 students were present.

Winston said principals at some schools reported that some students left early on Thursday, concerned over threats and safety issues.

Jalon Hill
Jalon is a general assignment reporter for QCity Metro. He is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and an avid sports fan. (jalon@qcitymetro.com)

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