Authorities find weapons,'hit list' at Union County high school

(Joe Bruno/WSOC photo)

MARSHVILLE, N.C. - Authorities at Forest Hills High School on Tuesday found several knives, a bottle of flammable liquid, fireworks, a dismantled shotgun shell and a "hit list" in a book bag at the Union County school.

The threat indicated that a student intended to stab several kids at the school, while the "hit list" contained names of nine to 12 people.

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The suspect is under 16 years old, so his identity is not being released.

Criminal charges are pending, the county Sheriff's Office said.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation's Information Sharing and Analysis Center Unit got information from a Canadian law enforcement agency about chat room discussions involving threats of violence by a Forest Hills High School student.

Sheriff Eddie Cathey applauded the quick work of deputies and Union County Public Schools officials to avert a possible mass casualty event.

"The deputies and specifically the School Resource Officer, along with Union County Public Schools did an outstanding job of quickly identifying the student involved with the chat room discussions and finding the weapons before a tragedy happened," Cathey said. "I also need to thank the SBI and ISAAC for bringing this matter to our attention as quickly as they did."

Union County Schools released a statement:

"Keeping students safe is always a priority for Union County Public Schools. We are thankful for our partnership with the Union County Sheriff's Office and want to commend deputies for their immediate response to this matter. We take every threat seriously and staff will continue to work to keep all schools safe. All families at Forest Hills High School have been notified."