msnbc.com news services
updated 10/24/2011 6:31:28 PM ET 2011-10-24T22:31:28

A teen was shot in the neck Monday at a Fayetteville high school in an incident that school officials now think was due to a stray bullet.

Sheriff Earl Butler said a female student at Cape Fear High School was shot with what appeared to be a small-caliber bullet.

Catilyn Abercrombie was in fair condition after surgery at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, according to sheriff's office spokeswoman Debbie Tanna. Cape Fear High School and a nearby middle school were locked down for hours before students were allowed to go home.

Butler told reporters that students said they thought they heard a "pop," but no one saw a gun. Abercrombie fell to the ground.

"At this point, all we know is this young girl was shot, they said in the neck," Butler told reporters.

Butler said no suspects had been arrested in the lunch-time shooting.

The Fayetteville Observer reported that the county's schools superintendent, Frank Till, said two school staff who were near the girl when she was shot saw no assailant, leading officials to think the shot might have been a stray bullet from a hunter or drive-by shooter.

Students from Mac Williams Middle School were sent home before their high school counterparts, who were still gradually leaving the campus by 6 p.m. Students were searched by police and left the building in long lines holding their hands above their heads before boarding buses that took them from campus.

Cumberland County school officials plan to have heightened security in place for when classes start on Tuesday.

"There will be metal detectors and beefed up security inside both schools," Tanna said. "Some parents have said they don't plan to send their kids to school. Those who do come can be assured there will be increased security on both campuses."

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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