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School Cop Shoots Student
An 11th grade Carolina Forest High School student is dead Friday morning after stabbing a resource officer who defended himself with gunfire.
Teal Britton, spokeswoman for Horry County Schools, said Trevor Varinecz, asked to speak to the student resource officer in his office and a fight between the two ensued. Varinecz, 16, stabbed the officer, who returned with gunfire.
His identity was confirmed Friday afternoon by Horry County Coroner Robert Edge. An autopsy on Varinecz's body is expected to be performed Friday at the Medical University of South Carolina.
Both victims were taken to the Conway Medical Center, where hospital officials confirmed Varinecz died at 9:34 a.m. from multiple gunshot wounds. The school resource was released from care at 12:30 p.m., hospital spokeswoman Julie Rajotte said.
When asked the identity of the school resource officer, Britton says Officer Marcus Rhodes, of Conway, was "the only school resource officer listed on Carolina Forest High School's website." Officials have yet to confirm a positive identification of the officer.
The Myrtle Beach Herald, a WMBF News partner, says Rhodes has been employed with the Horry County Police Department since 2000, serving as a school resource officer at North Myrtle Beach High School before transferring to Carolina Forest High School.
Horry County School Board member Joe DeFeo said school administrators were alerted of the situation in Rhodes' office after hearing shouting between him and the student. Two administrators say when they walked in, they saw Varinecz stabbing Rhodes with a large knife, and that's when Rhodes fired the gun.
Horry County officials also confirm Varinecz was an autistic student.
Britton confirmed this was an isolated incident and no one else was injured. The situation is controlled, as officials with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division take over the investigation for local law enforcement. The campus remains on lockdown, but concerned parents will be allowed on campus to pick up their children in an orderly fashion.
"The campus is safe and secure, and the school will continue with regular schedule," confirmed Britton.
Carolina Forest High School is equipped with nine metal detectors, the most out of any school in Horry County. Currently, more than 2,000 students attend the high school located on Gardner Lacy Road.
School officials say the detectors were to be in use Friday, but is possible the student was not scanned by one. Detectors are placed only in specific areas and entrances to the school. Britton says a lack of manpower makes it "almost impossible" for every student to go through a detector each day.
"You plan for all the possibilities and this is one I don't think that we could have quite imagined," she added. "I don't think even with a metal detector that there would have been a way to prevent it."
Friday's incident marks the second time in three years a Carolina Forest High School student has been killed in a violent incident on the school's campus. In June 2006, 18-year-old Natalia Holmes was stabbed 15 times by her estranged boyfriend in the school's parking lot.
Edwin Cornelius Brown is currently serving a life sentence for the death of Holmes.
Posted in: News on October 18, 2009 @ 11:45 PM