‘Innocent bystanders.’ 13 and 14-year-old boys shot at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC during high school basketball tournament

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ROWAN COUNTY, N.C. (WJZY) — A 13-year-old and a 14-year-old are recovering from their injuries after they were shot during a fight that broke out Wednesday night in the gym at Catawba College during a high school basketball tournament, according to the Salisbury Police Department.

Authorities said just after 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 29, at least one person fired multiple rounds, striking two teenage boys in the lobby of the Catawba College gymnasium.

Salisbury Police Chief Jerome “Jerry” Stokes said a 14-year-old boy was shot in his right forearm and was transported to Rowan Regional Medical Center for treatment. He was released Wednesday night.

A 13-year-old boy was struck in the right leg and was transported to Wake Forest Baptist Hospital. Chief Stokes said he remains in the hospital and is in good/stable condition. Neither teen was reportedly involved in the altercation that broke out on campus and were innocent bystanders, authorities said.

Catawba College is on holiday break this week, however, Rowan-Salisbury Schools was hosting the 2021 Sam Moir Christmas Basketball Tournament between North Rowan High School and West Rowan High School in the gymnasium.

Investigators estimate more than 400 people were attending the game Wednesday night and about 100 more people were in the lobby area when the shooting happened. The school district tweeted out shortly before 9:30 p.m. Wednesday that the remainder of the tournament was canceled.

At least one suspect is still on the run and has not been identified at this time.

During the game, Chief Stokes said Catawba security was supplemented by off-duty Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies who were on campus when the shooting occurred. When the fight initially broke out, deputies began to move forward to break it up, and shots were fired from behind them at the crowd.

Once the call went out to the on-duty Salisbury officers, the first officer got to the scene at 8:19 p.m. Authorities were able to render aid to the two teens at the scene before they were taken to the hospital.

“Our investigation is going well,” Chief Stokes said to the media on Thursday. “Information is coming in and detectives are making good headway.”

The Salisbury Police Department is being assisted by the NC State Bureau of Investigation with this case.

Catawba College initially put out a shelter-in-place order Wednesday. The order has since been lifted as Salisbury Police secured the crime scene. Campus residents who are still on campus during the holiday break were asked to remain in their buildings until 6 a.m. Thursday and avoid the gym area.

“I have been in contact with Dr. Tony Watlington, the Rowan-Salisbury Schools System Superintendent, and his Director of Schools, Safety, and Security. We’ve discussed the issues related to security at the schools for the first day back on Monday after the Christmas break, and he will work with us and the other law enforcement agencies to be sure that there is a safe return to school,” Chief Stokes said.

If anyone has any information that may aid investigators, you are asked to contact the Salisbury Police Department via private message on social media or Salisbury-Rowan Crimestoppers at (866) 639-5245.

This is a developing story. Stay with us for the continuous updates as soon as they become available.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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