ONE student has been killed and an armed suspect remains at large following a shooting at a high school on Wednesday afternoon.
Gunfire rang out at Mount Tabor High School in the North Carolina city of Winston-Salem at around 12.10pm.
Police immediately responded to the school and found one student, identified as William Chavis Reynard Miller Jr., downed with a gunshot wound.
He was taken to an area hospital but, despite life-saving measures, Winston-Salem Police Chief Catrina Thompson said the student "tragically succumbed to their injuries."
Thompson held back tears as she confirmed the student's death. No other students were harmed.
Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough was also visibly shaken by Miller's death.
He told reporters: "I haven't cried in a while, but I haven't stopped crying since I left the hospital.
"While I'm sad, I'm sure mad as hell. I spoke to his mom, and she kept saying, 'My baby. My baby.' I wasn't going to say his name, but his mom told me to say his name."
The shooter, meanwhile, remains at large and was not in the school building by the time police arrived on the scene.
Investigators say they are "actively" hunting for the suspect, who has not yet been publicly named but is believed to be a student.
It currently remains unclear what led to the shooting.
Officials believe there was only one suspect involved in the deadly incident and say that no "threats exist" to the local community at this time.
After the shooting, cops pleaded with parents to "not respond" to the school out of concern for their safety. Instead, students were transported to a Harris Teeter grocery store at Whitaker Square to be reunited with their families.
Reports emerged claiming that shots were fired near the pick-up site, however, the sheriff's office confirmed there was not a second shooting, adding that no injuries were reported and it was just a "disturbance."
A large police presence could be seen at the school, according to local reporters on the scene.
The husband of a staff member told a local reporter that he got a text from his wife saying: "There has been a shooting. SWAT team just came in my room screaming hands up. I have about 20 kids with me."
During an earlier press conference, Sheriff Kimbrough called it a "sad day in Forsyth County."
He said EMS tended to "students who, quite naturally, were panicked by this."
At least one student was treated after suffering a seizure amid the panic, officials said.
Other schools in the area, including Speas Global Elementary School and Parkland High School, were also placed on lockdown out of an "abundance of caution", a police spokesperson said.
The shooting happened on just the eighth day of in-person classes in the school district. It also comes as the second school shooting in the state in just the last 48 hours.
On Monday, one student was shot and another arrested after gunfire erupted at New Hanover High School in Willmington.
Chance Deablo, 15, was arrested and charged following the Monday morning shooting. The injured student suffered non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.
The teenager was hit with attempted first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury, bringing a weapon onto school grounds and discharging a weapon on school grounds charges.
In a statement on Wednesday, Governor Roy Cooper sent his prayers saying: "For the second time this week, we have seen a shooting in a North Carolina school."
"We must work to ensure the safety of students and educators, quickly apprehend the shooter and keep guns off school grounds," he added.
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