Officials investigate why emergency alert was triggered at govt building
NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Officials are investigating the emergency alert at New Hanover County Government Center that forced the entire building to evacuate Wednesday morning.
“It just said ‘Active shooter in the building, please evacuate immediately.’ And you could hear it. We all heard it,” said Margaret Grago, the owner of Break Time Billiards.
It was a message heard loud and clear. Even Grago locked her doors when she heard the alert.
“Initially, folks did assume that it was a drill. But we did treat it as an active threat,” said Jessica Loeper, New Hanover County spokeswoman.
Loeper says that somehow, the emergency alert system was activated. Employees evacuated the building and officers arrived quickly.
“Oh my god, minutes. There must have been 30 cops here within minutes,” said Grago.
As employees waited outside, sheriff deputies and local police officers entered the building.
“So we are conducting multiple sweeps. So it’s not just a one time thing through,” said Lt. Jerry Brewer, of the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office. “We’re going to make sure that everything has been checked, every door has been opened, every closet has been looked in and continue the investigation from there,” said Brewer.
Brewer says there was no report of an actual person inside. He says their first priority was setting a perimeter around Government Center Drive and making sure everyone was safe.
After about three hours, employees were allowed back inside the building. It was a hectic morning that ended with no one hurt.
“To see all those agencies from local to federal, even like I said before, UNCW, to come in and immediately work together and work to get this resolved is amazing,” said Brewer.
Officials will continue to investigate how and why the alert was triggered.