ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — Pasquotank County Sheriff Tommy Wooten is crediting the swift actions of a bus driver and several others at preventing what he said could have been a tragedy.

Two schools, Northeastern High School and River Road Middle School, were placed on lockdown briefly Wednesday after a high school student was found on a bus that morning with an AK-47 pistol and drugs, according to the Pasquotank County Sheriff’s Office.

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During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, the sheriff and other officials discussed the details of what unfolded.

Sheriff Wooten said that the incident began when the bus driver smelled the odor of marijuana coming from the student on the bus.

The driver then stopped at River Road Middle School and made contact with school officials as well as that school’s resource officer.

A jar filled with “green matter,” which the sheriff’s office believes to be marijuana, was discovered with the student.

After further investigation of the student’s book bag, authorities also found the AK-47 pistol with an unloaded 30-round magazine in it. Authorities in Perquimans County confirmed the gun was stolen out of their jurisdiction.

The student was taken into custody and school officials informed the community.

Both Northeastern High School and River Road Middle School were temporarily put on lockdown as a precautionary result of the incident.

After a search, authorities determined there was no further threat to students or staff and the lockdowns were lifted.

Several juvenile petitions have been taken out for the student including:

  • Possession of firearm on school grounds — felony and a misdemeanor – two charges
  • Carrying a concealed firearm
  • Carrying a concealed weapon – a knife was also involved
  • Possession of a weapon of mass destruction
  • Misdemeanor possession of marijuana
  • Possession with intent to distribute marijuana

Sheriff Wooten said that additional charges are pending.