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      Solicitor: CFHS shooting was case of suicide by police officer

      The knife that was used in the attack by Trevor Varinecz.

      The school resource officer who shot and killed a Carolina Forest High School student will not be charged with a crime. Prosecutors said today this was a case of suicide by police officer.

      Officer Marcus Rhodes is on administrative duty now and may go back to being a school resource officer at Carolina Forest High School. The superintendent says she'd go along with that, if the police chief approves it.

      But as far as criminal charges against the officer, the State Law Enforcement Division and the solicitor agree, there won't be any.

      On October 16th, the evidence shows, 16-year-old Trevor Varinecz confronted School Resource Officer Marcus Rhodes in Rhodes' office at Carolina Forest High School and began stabbing him in the back.

      SLED's investigation shows Rhodes tried to disable Varinecz by shooting him in the leg several times, but that didn't stop the teenager. Solicitor Greg Hembree says it's clear what was happening. "The evidence is undisputable that the deceased intended to commit suicide," he said.

      Hembree says Varinecz was a knife collector. He used a World War II-era German bayonet to attack Rhodes. Hembree says Rhodes was stabbed seven times before firing the fatal shot. His version of what happened was backed up by school staffers who saw the attack through his office window. "From a standpoint of evaluating what happened, it wasn't a complicated evaluation," Hembree said.

      Investigators say it's clear now that Varinecz intended to hurt no one but himself, but Rhodes didn't know that then, so he did what he had to do to protect other students. "At the time that Officer Rhodes encountered this young man in his office, obviously that's the first thought that's going through your mind. He responded in that fashion, which was appropriate to do," said SLED Director Reggie Lloyd.

      No one is sure how Varinecz got the knife into the building. The school has metal detectors. But Hembree says if someone is determined to get a weapon on school property, there's no way to prevent it.

      And school leaders say, they're not sure if changes in security are needed. "This is not about the school campus not being secure. It was about some unfortunate incidents and tragic, tragic end result," said Horry County School Superintendent Cindy Elsberry.

      Hembree says there are no silver linings to this incident, no lessons to be learned, it's simply a tragedy.

      We're talking to the principal of Carolina Forest High School this evening. You'll hear from her tonight on NewsChannel 15 at 11 and here on CarolinaLive.com.

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      Solicitor: Student was trying to commit suicide

      The 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office says School Resource Officer Marcus Rhodes has been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with the shooting at Carolina Forest High School in October that left a 16-year-old student dead. Rhodes will not face any charges.

      Solicitor Greg Hembree says the student, Trevor Varinecz, was trying to kill himself.

      It was October 16th when police say Varinecz asked to see Officer Rhodes in his office. A short time investigators say Varinecz started stabbing Rhodes and Rhodes fired back, killing Varinecz.

      In a news conference Thursday morning, investigators displayed the weapon used by Varinecz, a nearly 15 inch German World War II bayonet. They said Varinecz was a collector.

      We learned there were several eyewitnesses to the incident. Several school staff members saw the attack through the window of Rhodes' office. Their testimony, combined with that of Rhodes, led investigators to determine that Varinecz was trying to commit suicide and that Rhodes should not be charged.

      They said Rhodes was stabbed 7 times in the back, and was released from the hospital the day of the shooting.

      Varinecz had five gun shot entry wounds. One bullet, which passed through the teen's chest, proved to be fatal.

      Shortly after the shooting, we learned Varinecz suffered from Asperger's Syndrom, a form of autism.

      Stay with NewsChannel 15 and CarolinaLive.com for more details as we get them.

      To leave a comment, scroll down and click on "post a comment."

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      (10:52am) Officer cleared of wrongdoing in student shooting

      The 15th Circuit Solicitor's Office says School Resource Officer Marcus Rhodes has been cleared of wrongdoing in connection with the shooting at Carolina Forest High School in October that left a 16-year-old student dead. He will not face any charges.

      Solicitor Greg Hembree says the student was trying to kill himself.

      The news conference on the results of the investigation is still going on. We will post more details as we get them.

      Friday, October 16th Rhodes shot and killed 16-year-old Trevor Varinecz. Police say the Carolina Forest High student attacked Rhodes with a knife in Rhodes' office. Varinecz had five gun shot entry wounds. One bullet, which passed through the teen's chest, proved to be fatal.

      Officer Rhodes was treated for several stab wounds and released from Conway Medical Center the day of the shooting.

      Shortly after the shooting, we learned Varinecz suffered from Asperger's Syndrom, a form of autism.

      Stay with NewsChannel 15 and CarolinaLive.com for more details as we get them.

      To leave a comment, scroll down and click on "post a comment."

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