Police say ECU employee shot in unprovoked attack near elementary school

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – Greenville police say a gunman shot an East Carolina University employee in an unprovoked attack near an elementary school this morning.

Chief Ted Sauls says his officers took the gunman into custody after an exchange of gunfire.

It started around 8:30 a.m. on East Fifth Street on a sidewalk adjacent to Wahl-Coates Elementary School, the chief said. The ECU employee encountered the man on a bike, and the chief said the gunman fired at least five times.

A school resource officer at the school heard the gunshots, as did students and staff.

The victim fortunately only received what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries, according to the chief.

After the shooting, the gunman continued on his bike down Fifth Street when an officer tried to stop him. “The officer exited his vehicle to attempt to detain the individual and was immediately met with gunfire from the suspect’ said the chief. “As soon as the suspect fired on the officer, the officer along with two additional responding officers, returned fire.”

Sauls says his officers were able to take the man, who wasn’t injured, into custody

“Key issue for me at this point are an unprovoked attack at 8:30 in the morning on a sidewalk, that is a concern to the community for sure. The proximity to the schools,” said Sauls.

The chief did praise the community’s and school’s quick action.

A witness says he woke up around 8:15 a.m. and heard eight to 10 gunshots, went outside, and saw multiple police cars.

Wahl-Coates was immediately placed on lockdown, while St. Peter Catholic School, which is about a block away, was put on a modified lockdown. Both lockdowns have since been lifted.

Officers say Fifth Street between Elm Street and 10th Street is closed for the ongoing investigation.

Greenville police say motives are not known and ask people to avoid the area.

Sauls says the SBI will be brought in to investigate the officer-involved shooting.