SLED investigates shooting/stabbing at CFHS
Fri, 16 Oct 2009 21:16:30 GMT —
A Carolina Forest High School student died Friday, after being shot by a school resource officer. School officials say the student first stabbed the officer, and the officer responded by shooting the student.
Because the incident involved an SRO, the State Law Enforcement Division is now handling the investigation.
School officials say classes were just getting underway at the school, when 16-year-old Trevor Varinecz asked to see the school's resource officer, Marcus Rhodes.
Officer say they met in Rhodes office, near math classrooms in the building called "F" house.
Officials say Varinecz confronted Rhodes and the two got involved in what a school spokesperson calls a tussle at about 8:20 Friday morning.
"We know that the student did have a knife on him, and we know that there were shots fired," said the school district's public information officer, Teal Britton.
Britton says Varinecz stabbed Rhodes, then Rhodes shot Varinecz. School staff members didn't see the altercation, but heard it behind the closed door of Rhodes' office, and one staff member called 9-1-1. Within minutes, the campus was under lockdown and Varinecz and Rhodes were on their way to Conway Medical Center at approximately 8:55am.
The Horry County Corner, Robert Edge, says Verinecz was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at the hospital at 9:34am. An autopsy is planned for Saturday morning.
Although the school district says several shots were fired, the coroner's office would not confirm how many times Varinecz was hit.
As the story unfolded, students at the school grabbed their cell phones and began texting and calling others on the outside.
"Everybody's just asking me if I was ok and everything. They don't know what's going on in there. We know more out here," said Brook Jordan, a senior at Carolina Forest High.
Soon, worried parents began to gather with questions no one seemed to be able to answer. "I don't know if they have the shooter, I don't know if the shooter is a student," said Jackie Burke, a parent of a CFHS student.
Rumors were flying and police couldn't say much.
"A lot of people are saying a lot of different things and it's not only our job but it's also SLED's job to get to the bottom of it and find out exactly what occurred," said Sgt. Robert Kegler, Horry County Police Department.
Within a couple of hours, school officials had determined the incident was long over, no other students were in danger and parents were allowed to pick up their children about ten at a time, though the school remained open for class. A line of cars soon snaked all the way down Gardner Lacy Road.
The school had its crisis plan in place during the incident and Britton says, teachers and staff did what they were supposed to do.
"People knew exactly what their stations were and exactly what their duties were and they did that," Britton said.
The school resource officer, Marcus Rhodes, has been released from Conway Medical Center.
Here's what we know of Trevor Varinecz:
He was 16 years old, an 11th grader at Carolina Forest and an Horry County student since elementary school. We have heard from a source close to the family, that Trevor had a form of Autism, but we have not been able to confirm that with the family directly or with any school officials.
School will be open as normal on Monday.
NewsChannek 15 has requested an official report, as well as copies of the 9-1-1 tapes, from Horry County. We'll let you know when we get that report.
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To read about the use of metal detectors at Carolina Forest High School, click here.