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'This could have been a terrible nightmare' | Elizabeth City high school student arrested after firearm, drugs found on bus

School resource officers found the firearm and drugs during a stop at River Road Middle School.

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. — Elizabeth City officials held a press conference Wednesday afternoon after a student was arrested for having a gun, a knife, and drugs on a school bus.  

A school resource officers found the firearm and drugs on a bus Wednesday around 9:20 a.m. 

According to the Pasquotank County Sheriff, the driver of the school bus alerted River Road Middle School's assistant principal of a student on board who smelled of marijuana. 

The assistant principal contacted the school resource officer, who looked into the incident. That officer found a jar with what police believe to be marijuana inside in the student's possession. 

The officer also discovered a gun in the student's bag, which officials believe is an AK-47 pistol with a loaded magazine in it, as well as a knife. 

At that point, the student was taken into custody. 

Following the arrest, officers and school staff took "extra precautions" and searched the buildings at Northeastern High School and River Road Middle School.

Both schools were under lockdown as law enforcement officials searched each building and classroom. 

According to the Pasquotank County Sheriff, officials did not find anything else significant to the investigation. 

"This could have been a terrible nightmare for our community, there are a bunch of things I could say about how it could have gone, but it could have been bad. Because of the swift actions of everyone involved, we were able to get in front of this," said Sheriff Tommy Wooten during the press conference.

Wooten says he applauds the bus driver for speaking up

"Because this person wasn’t scared to say something, who knows, who knows how many lives we just saved today."

Interim Superintendent, Dr. Eddie Ingram, says safety in their schools is their number one priority and it’s something they’re always looking at, not just when something bad happens.

"You always reflect on it and reexamine all of your policies and procedures."

Wooten is asking the community, if you see something, say something.

"I think it’s time now as a community, if there ever was a time, to stand together against the gun violence and drugs that are poisoning our youth and dictating their future."

He says they’re still working to find out what the student’s intentions were with the gun. He would not say whether the student has had any disciplinary issues in the past or a history with law enforcement.

The Pasquotank County Sheriff shared a list of charges against the student who was arrested.

Those charges are as follows: 

  • Possession of a firearm on school grounds, felony
  • Possession of a firearm on school grounds, misdemeanor
  • Carry and concealed firearm
  • Carry and concealed weapon
  • Possession of a weapon of mass destruction
  • Possession of a stolen firearm
  • Misdemeanor possession of marijuana
  • Possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana

The sheriff said the investigation is still ongoing, and more charges could come.