COLUMBUS COUNTY -- Many students in Columbus County didn't show up for school Monday. Rumors of retaliation in the schools come after a murder Friday night following the East Columbus-Whiteville football game. Police say about 200 people were gathered in the parking lot of Sam's Pit Stop in Lake Waccamaw when a silver Ford Taurus drove up and someone in it opened fire. Twenty-two-year-old Darnell Frink was killed. Two others were shot in the leg. East and West Columbus and Whiteville High Schools had hardly any students in class Monday because of rumors of retaliation for Frink's murder. Gina Smith got her son Samuel out of East Columbus High School early Monday after hearing the rumors. Samuel said, "There's really no one in class. They're all being checked out." Gina Smith said, "With all the shootings going on in other places like Virginia Tech you just want to take precaution." Students at West Columbus High School say only about four or five kids were in each class there. At Whiteville High School only a third of the student population showed up, many of whom left early throughout the day. The low attendance rates come after rumors of violence in all three schools. Whiteville High School Principal John Westbrook said, "Apparently this is a spillover from incidents that occurred over the weekend. As a precaution we decided to implement a crisis plan." Whiteville Police Chief Jerry Britt said, "We've had rumors of violence that will take place in the county, we've had rumors of violence possibly violence taking place at Whiteville High School. We've been here since seven o'clock this morning, to our knowledge there has been no violence there have not even been threats of violence." Whiteville High School went into lockdown, using extra officers and metal detectors on campus. East and West Columbus also had extra law enforcement on hand. Even so, some parents were still worried. Parent Virginia Smith said, "I went and picked my son up because I felt as though he was in danger. Look at Columbine and Virginia Tech -- things happen. Children are not even safe in schools Monday." A number of people called the newsroom Monday saying they heard there were shots fired at some of the county's schools. The Columbus County Sheriff's Office says that is not true. Some students say the threats of gunfire on campus and Friday night's murder are possibly gang related. Police have not confirmed that. So far there have been no arrests.
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