Stabbing at Moore County high school leaves female student in stable condition

Victim identified as Pinecrest Junior Avery Slatcher. Attacker’s name withheld due to age; facing charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

RALEIGH — A female student at Pinecrest High School in the Moore County Public Schools district is in stable condition after being stabbed on campus on the morning of April 28.

Moore County Public Schools’ initial press statement said that “a serious assault incident occurred at Pinecrest High School prior to the start of the school day.”

The statement said multiple agencies responded to the incident, including EMS, and that a suspect was in custody and the victim is being treated.

“All students and staff are safe and accounted for. Pinecrest High School was in a modified lockdown for a period of time,” the statement read. “The modified lockdown has been lifted, and students can be checked out by their parents. The school will operate on a normal schedule for the remainder of today.”

Pinecrest High’s principal also sent a message to Pinecrest High School parents.

“As previously shared, we had an incident in the auditorium parking lot prior to school starting. All students are accounted for and are safe,” wrote Principal Stefanie Phillips. She also reiterated the school schedule and that parents could check their students out.

In an updated statement later in the day, Moore County Public Schools offered some more details about the incident, indicating a stabbing had occurred but that it was an “isolated incident.

“The suspect was immediately apprehended by Moore County Schools Police and Pinecrest High School staff,” the updated statement said. “The suspect is in custody and being detained.”

The district also said that Moore County Schools Critical Response Team, made up of counselors and social workers from the district, was “immediately deployed to Pinecrest High School to provide additional support to the students and staff.”

“Additionally, we appreciate the support of Moore County Schools Police, Southern Pines Police Department, and EMS that responded to the incident,” the updated statement read.

Later in the afternoon, it was reported by CBS 17 that students said the stabbing happened after the victim tried to “end a relationship with a boy.”

Southern Pines Police Chief Nick Polidori confirmed a female student was stabbed in the school’s parking lot area and that she was transported for treatment.

“The victim was transported to a local hospital for emergency treatment,” Polidori said. “A suspect was taken into custody. There is no ongoing threat to the community.”

Moore County Schools Police Chief Rodney Hardy gave similar information as Polidori and said a female student had received “severe” wounds during the attack by a male student.

The following morning, on Saturday, April 29, a community prayer event was held at Pinecrest High School for the victim.  

Moore County Public Schools did not identify the female student. However, a GoFundMe page that was set up seeking donations from the public for medical expenses for the family identified the student as Avery Slatcher, a junior at the school. 

The GoFundMe page says the attack left Slatcher in “critical condition” and that she is the middle child of seven in the family. 

“Due to her injuries, she was life-flighted to UNC for extensive treatment. Needing to stay close to their daughter/sister, Avery’s family is staying in Chapel Hill for as long as possible. In an effort to relieve their stress during this difficult time, we ask that you donate anything you can to help fund the Slatcher family’s stay in the triangle area as well as the cost of Avery’s life-saving treatments and rehabilitation,” the GoFundMe page reads.

The GoFundMe page included a message from the Slatcher family:

Our family is extremely grateful for all of the support that has come from the community in so many ways. There are no words to describe the gratitude we feel, just as there are no words to describe the tragedy that has happened to our family.

Our sweet girl is still recovering in the hospital at this time. She has a long road ahead of her, but she is strong; she’s a fighter. I know it sounds cliche, but ‘Avery truly is one of the kindest, best people I know. She is thoughtful, genuine, and loving. It’s so hard to see her struggling, scared, and in pain.

Please gently remind your children that may see them in the schools that Avery’s siblings are also suffering from this horrific event. One of her sisters had to witness this happen. It will take a lot of time for our whole family to recover from this.

We are also grateful for those who refrained from spreading misinformation and for those that tried to keep others from doing so. This is something no parent and no person should ever have to experience no matter their role or involvement.

We will be eternally thankful for the kindness and generosity of this community, our friends, and our family. The donations that were so selflessly given have lifted a huge burden from our family during this difficult time.

The suspect, who is not being identified because of his age, is currently being held at the Cabarrus Regional Juvenile Detention Center after Moore County Schools police secured a juvenile protective custody order. He faces a charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill.

By A.P. Dillon

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