Rowan County high school principal injured in fight

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Michael Joseph, cropped left beside generic photo of Henderson Independent High School. (Photos courtesy: WSOC)

SALISBURY, N.C. — A Rowan County high school principal was reportedly injured in a scuffle with a group of teenagers.

Police tell WSOC at least one of the six suspects was armed with a gun when the group walked onto the campus of Henderson Independent High School on Thursday afternoon.

A school resource officer noticed the suspects as they approached the school wearing “military fatigues,” the station reports.

The SRO reportedly informed the principal before he and the principal approached the suspects and began speaking with them.

“They go over and start speaking to the guys,” Deputy Chief Steve Whitley with the Salisbury Police Department told WSOC.  “One of the fellows is acting really nervous.  He starts putting his hands in his pocket.”

Whitley said the “nervous” suspect then pulled a loaded, .22-caliber handgun out of his pocket.  The suspect reportedly “tossed (the gun) over his shoulder.”

“By that time, the officer is going into fighting mode calling for help,” Whitley said.

WSOC reports some of the suspects then became involved in a “scuffle” with the SRO and the principal while others scattered.

Police said one of the suspects, 17-year-old Michael Joseph, broke the principal’s nose during the fight.  He is charged with assault.

Joseph was the only suspect who was arrested.

The school was locked down for about an hour while police searched for the other suspects, but they were never found.

Investigators say they’re not sure why the suspects went to the high school to begin with.


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