Everybody safe, no threat found during Durham charter school lockdown

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Friday, May 19, 2023
Everybody safe, no threat found during Durham charter school lockdown
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Durham Police Department found no threat at Excelsior Classical Academy, a Durham charter school, after receiving reports of an active shooter.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Police Department found no threat at a Durham charter school after receiving reports of an active shooter. The school is no longer on lockdown, police said Friday shortly before 1:45 p.m.

Investigators said they responded to Excelsior Classical Academy in the 4100 block of North Roxboro Street after receiving the emergency call around 11:15 a.m. When they got to the school, they searched and found nothing out of the ordinary.

"They were here almost immediately. Officers went in. We train," Durham Police Chief Patrice Andrews said. "Unfortunately, this is what we have to train for. This is the world we are in now and our teams mobilize quickly."

The school was on lockdown as police did a "secondary active search" of the school.

"At this point, we do not believe there was an active shooter at the building," Andrews said. "We do not have any evidence nor have we found any firearms or any evidence of a firearm being fired."

School administrators sent a notification to parents afternoon to alert them that students could be picked up after police finished their sweep of the school. The school said buses would run as usual and there would be no after-school programs Friday.

Lindsey Williams, the parent of a fourth- ad eighth-grader at the school, said she was on the way there for a meeting when her older child texted her.

"When I pulled here, the police were blocking all the entrances and at that point, we didn't have any communication from the schools so I'm relying on my son to give me information," Williams said. "Panic, panic and then I'm past this entrance and try and go to another one and then there were ambulances staged and then you really are panicking because why there are ambulances. It's like a frenzy trying to figure out what's going on, are your children safe? Panic."

Excelsior opened in the 2015-2016 school year with classes from kindergarten to fourth grade. The school has been adding a new grade each year and will have its first graduating class in 2024.

Pacific Avenue was closed between North Roxboro and Capitol Street and the entrance to Excelsior Classical Academy was closed while police investigated.

Kelly Knight, a parent from Oxford, said her daughter called her and said she didn't feel safe.

Knight has a 6-year-old and a 15-year-old at the school.

"It doesn't make the terror any less when you have your children in there, you don't know that it's nothing until you get them back," Knight said. "This is the world we live in, no this is the country we live in now ... we do our best to keep our kids safe and that's the best you can do. Social media is good and bad."

Chief Andrews added: "This is the worst nightmare for us."

All week ABC11 has been reporting on how schools across the Triangle are doing everything they can to have safer schools for students and staff. Here's a look at some of the stories you may have missed.

Durham students band together to get more mental health resources in school

'Stay vigilant': Keeping schools safe with School Resource Officers

Not all North Carolina schools have submitted required safety plans

New technology promises to make Wake County schools safer by efficiently tracking school guests

New security system boosts goal to keep offenders off campuses of Cumberland Co. Schools