Man Arrested After Firing Shots Near Middle School

Authorities have arrested a Mount Airy man who fired gunshots near a middle school.

Police say 19-year-old Zachary Brian Willis was spotted by a school official walking near a wooded area adjacent to Mount Airy Middle School. They say Willis was dressed in black and carrying a rifle.

The school resource officer ordered an evacuation of a soccer field where a practice was under way.

A police spokesman says when officers entered the woods, they heard gunshots and took cover. Willis soon came out of the woods, and a search of the area turned up a loaded rifle, a loaded pistol and several rounds of ammunition.

Willis faces a number of charges, including discharging a firearm within city limits and two felony counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. A police spokeswoman says Willis has a number of prior convictions.