Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman is reminding gun owners to be aware of their surroundings when target shooting, after events on Friday lead to the lockdown of Watauga High.
In a statement to WataugaOnline.com the Sheriff said, “At approximately, 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 6 (prior to ASU'S Annual Homecoming), several volleys of gunfire were distinctly heard with a report of semi and alleged automatic gunfire from what sounded to be several rifles. Following the events in Las Vegas, and upon hearing the weapons discharges made rapidly and numerous, Boone Police quickly and wisely made a decision to immediately lock down the school until a determination could be established of motives, threats, direction, range, etc.
While Boone PD was busy with logistics of ordering and controlling, and managing a safe zone around the High School, Watauga County Deputies Julian, W. Watson, Smith, Regan, and myself converged past the soccer fields at Brookshire Park (which was fairly crowded too).”
Sheriff Hagaman went on to say that at the top of hill several students were found shooting skeet in a safe manner. They were utilizing 100's of rounds, were shooting in a line and had safety spotters. He adds that the shooters were being careful to shoot into a dirt berm and were not shooting toward homes and vehicles. There was no alcohol noted on the location.
Hagaman said the encounter between the shooters and law enforcement was pleasant and everyone at that location, including neighbors, seem to understand. The Sheriff said that because of ambient temperature (72°F), wind direction, ammo used, and number of long firearms it sounded like a “war zone” because the sound was funneling toward WHS, making it sound as though it was directly across street vs. several miles away.
Hagaman would like to remind shooters to be aware of proximity of schools and their surroundings.