PASQUOTANK COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – Investigators are searching for the suspects who fired shots outside the Pasquotank County courthouse Monday afternoon.
According to the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office, the shots were fired at a group of people in front of the courthouse on Main Street in Elizabeth City while court was in session. The Sheriff says investigators are compiling a list of everyone who was in court.
The courthouse was damaged by the gunfire, as was a vehicle parked out front, but there are no injuries reported. The vehicle that was struck belongs to Patrick Sellers, a public defender. He said there are two bullet holes in his Jetta, but he said he does not believe his vehicle was targeted.
“I have no idea what they were trying to accomplish by firing shots around it,” said Sellers.
A WAVY TV 10 crew was inside the Pasquotank County courthouse Monday afternoon when they heard the gunshots. Reporter Lex Gray says the courthouse was immediately roped off so investigators could collect evidence.
Witnesses described hearing “rapid gunfire” that sounded like an automatic weapon.
A neighbor told Lex she was sitting on her porch when she heard the gunfire. “Only thing I heard was, it sounded like firecrackers, and then I saw two boys run out from behind these bushes here and run down the road.” She says she heard about eight shots.
One of the deputies responding to the scene saw a car speeding from the courthouse. Investigators were also led to evidence a couple of blocks away from the scene. That scene is also under investigation.
Lex is reporting that deputies have recovered two 9-mm handguns, and what they believe are the suspects’ clothing about two and a half blocks from the courthouse. Deputies will be pulling fingerprints from the recovered guns, and doing ballistic and DNA testing on them.
As a precaution, nearby Sheep-Harney Elementary was briefly placed on lockdown. The school released this alert:
There was a report of gunshots fired around 1:00 pm in the vicinity of the Pasquotank County Courthouse. For the safety and security of students and staff, we placed Sheep-Harney Elementary on a brief lock down. Emergency Management confirmed that the lock down could be lifted and students dismissed on the regular schedule. This incident was not related to any of our schools.” ~ Tammy Watts Sawyer, Community Schools Director
Lex first tweeted about the shooting at 1:19 p.m.
My photographer and I could hear pops from inside courthouse. People pointing out where bullets hit building @WAVY_News
— Lex Gray (@LexGrayWAVY) April 4, 2016
Lex was in the courthouse covering a hearing, which has been continued, for unrelated reasons.
Stay with WAVY News 10 on air and online for developments.