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Catawba College president ‘angry and saddened’ at shooting that happened on campus

Two teens were shot; both are expected to be okay
Shooting at Catawba College
Shooting at Catawba College(Contributed photo)
Published: Dec. 31, 2021 at 8:31 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 31, 2021 at 10:00 AM EST
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - The president of Catawba College is “angry and saddened” over an incident on campus Wednesday night that left two teens shot during a high school basketball tournament.

Police in Salisbury say a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old were both shot by an unknown person in the lobby of the gym during halftime of a game in the annual Sam Moir Christmas Tournament. Both teens are expected to be okay.

Related: ‘Clearly a senseless act’: Teens shot at high school holiday basketball tournament at Catawba College in Salisbury

In a letter addressed to the campus community, President David Nelson expresses his frustration over the incident:

“Last night you received emergency notifications and a follow-up email regarding an incident that occurred on our campus in the Goodman Gym during the Rowan-Salisbury Schools’ Christmas basketball tournament, featuring high school teams from Rowan County. I want to provide you an update and let you know steps we are taking to ensure the safety of our campus in the future.

As you may have learned from news reports, a shooter injured two teenagers, one who was treated and released from the hospital, and another who remains hospitalized in good condition. We are grateful to Rowan County Sheriff officers who were working the tournament and responded immediately to the shooting. We are also grateful to the Salisbury Police Department (SPD) for their swift response. An investigation of the incident, under the leadership of the SPD, is ongoing.

Since it is Winter Break, our campus is sparsely populated at this time. Catawba’s Office of Public Safety has contacted all students currently in residence on campus, and all remain safe. A number of Catawba employees worked the tournament, along with Chartwells employees who were serving concessions. Some Catawba employees and alumni also attended the event, some with their families. I’m glad to report that all of our Catawba family members were kept from physical harm during the shooting.

I am angry and saddened that such an event occurred on our campus. What should have been an enjoyable event for members of our city and county was marred by senseless violence. It is distressing for members of our campus community and our Rowan/Salisbury community to endure such trauma. We will continue to check in on members of our community to ensure their well-being.

Our Office of Public Safety is working with local law enforcement officials to review this incident and assess safety protocols and procedures. We will implement any necessary measures so that our campus is a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff, and for guests at Catawba College. We will continue to work with our colleagues at Rowan-Salisbury Schools as well as other organizations regarding safety at events held on our campus.

Let’s enjoy the remainder of our break and appreciate the time we have with those we love. I look forward to seeing you all as we return to campus in the days to come.”

The shooting happened during halftime of Wednesday’s game between West Rowan and North Rowan.

Officials said it started around 8:10 p.m. with a fight near the concession stand in the lobby of Goodman Gymnasium before shots were fired.

Police said the 13-year-old male was flown to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center with a gunshot wound to the leg. He is in stable but good condition, according to police.

The 14-year-old was shot in the forearm and was treated and released from Novant Health Rowan Medical Center.

Police said both teens were not involved in the fight and are expected to recover.

Rowan-Salisbury Schools announced that the remainder of the basketball tournament was canceled.

Salisbury Police and the State Bureau of Investigation are continuing to investigate the case. They are asking that anyone with information about the shooting or any video of the incident to contact investigators at (704) 638-5333, or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at (866) 639-5245.

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