WELLSBURG - Brooke High School students anticipating Monday's dismissal bell had to wait a bit longer than normal as a report of gunfire nearby sent the school into lockdown about 10 minutes before the end of classes.
Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson said a fisherman on nearby Cross Creek reported hearing several gunshots at about 2:30 p.m. No injuries were reported, responding deputies found no threat in the immediate area, and students were allowed to leave school after a brief delay, according to Jackson.
Despite searching the surrounding area for about 90 minutes, investigators found no evidence pointing to the source of the reported gunshots before clearing the scene just after 4 p.m. Jackson estimated shots could have been audible from as far as a mile away due to echo from the surrounding hills, and he said it's likely someone was performing "target practice."
"Although we never believed at any time there was a real threat ... we choose to err on the side of caution," he said.
Jackson said officers from the Wellsburg and Follansbee police departments and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources assisted his deputies in their investigation.
Brooke County Schools Superintendent Kathy Kidder-Wilkerson did not immediately return a call seeking comment.