'Hid in the corner': Fuquay-Varina Middle put on lockdown after student fires gun at window

Cindy Bae Image
Friday, December 9, 2022
Juvenile petition filed in shooting incident at Fuquay-Varina Middle
EMBED <>More Videos

The Wake County Sheriff's Office obtained a secure custody order for a 12-year-old student at Fuquay-Varina Middle School. An adult is facing a charge in the case.

FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WTVD) -- Fuquay-Varina Middle School released students early on Thursday after a student fired a gun in a classroom and the school was put on lockdown. The student and gun are both in police custody.

Late Thursday evening, the Wake County Sheriff's Office obtained a secure custody order for a 12-year-old student at the middle school. Officials said a juvenile petition has also been served and filed.

Deputies also charged Seth Lanterman-Schneider, of Willow Spring, for violating a general statute that covers "storage of firearms to protect minors." The charge is a class 1 misdemeanor.

Classes won't be held for Fuquay-Varina Middle School students on Friday to give them time to process the "difficult situation," Wake County Public Schools said Thursday afternoon.

"Today was a difficult day for our school community. Our school will have a Teacher Workday tomorrow, Dec. 9, to provide our students, families and staff time and space to process this difficult situation," WCPSS said. "Staff from the District Crisis Team will be available on campus tomorrow from 10 a.m. to noon to support any student or parent who needs assistance.

No make-up day will be required for Friday's classes.

Officials said no threat was directed at any students or staff.

In a post on the school's website, officials said the student fired the gun at a window. No one was hurt in the incident.

But this was a close call that frightened many parents responding to their children's text messages Thursday morning.

"I was very, very scared," said parent Rachiv Bindra.

There were sighs of relief for parents reunited with their children; tight hugs as students left Fuquay-Varina Middle School early after a student fired a gun in the classroom.

Eyewitnesses said it happened during arrival when a sixth-grader was pulling a gun out of a backpack.

"We all kind of hid on the corner of the classroom that's next to the door and we close our lights, the blinds and it was code red so we had to be quiet and lock the door," said Jahnavi Pancholi, a seventh-grade student.

All extracurricular and afterschool activities were canceled for Thursday and Friday.

"It's a terrible incident. Of course, it was scary for him," said Jason Degraffenreidt, a parent whose son was in the room where the gun went off. "Had to come pick him up due to the incident and fortunately everyone is safe. He was good to go and his friends were a little shaken up. He was in the room with the actual incident so we're getting through it."

This was the second lockdown in Wake County this week. Wakefield schools responded to a phoned threat on Tuesday, which authorities deemed not credible.

Police said a gun was not found at Wakefield, but Thursday's incident in Fuquay-Varina has parents asking the same question again -- why is a gun on campus?

"Hopefully it's going to stop these things," Bindra said. "I don't understand why they do nothing about this. They should stop this."

Degraffenreidt added: "I don't know where it starts but something's definitely got to change. This is a terrible thing for our kids to have to go through. We deal with on a regular basis. Something needs to get up. This is not the way for kids to have to grow up."

School Principal Kris Clark credited a teacher assistant principal for disarming the student.

He said the teacher heard the gunshot and immediately came to the student holding the weapon. A school resource officer was also on campus and responded.