Beaufort County Community College student arrested after shots fired near barber academy

Published: Feb. 2, 2023 at 1:54 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 2, 2023 at 3:55 PM EST
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BEAUFORT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - A community college student has been jailed after authorities say he made violent threats against the school and then fired his gun as he was leaving the area.

Joseph McKinney has been charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds.

Beaufort County deputies say it happened yesterday at the BCCC Barber Academy in the Cypress Commons Shopping Center outside of Chocowinity. The academy is operated through Beaufort County Community College.

The building was not hit by the gunfire.
The building was not hit by the gunfire.(WITN)

The community college said McKinney abruptly left the academy, with what BCCC President David Loope described as unexpected anger.

“When he left it was very surprising,” Loope said. “To the students and faculty, it seemed he was emotionally distraught.”

According to BCCC, McKinney made violent threats as he left and then called 911, to tell them he was planning to attack the class.

Loope says the school doesn’t believe any of the students or faculty had any issues with McKinney prior to the shots being fired.

“We have no reason to believe that it was anything that any of the students or faculty said to him, to cause that reaction,” Loope said.

BCCC said McKinney returned and tried to get inside, but the instructor had already locked the building and called 911.

Detectives say McKinney fired multiple shots from a gun while heading west on Old Blount’s Creek Road.

No one was injured and nothing was damaged by the gunfire, according to deputies. However, Loope says he’s just thankful it wasn’t worse.

“We’re very fortunate that he made the decision to fire rounds off after leaving the parking lot and moving away from the building,” Loope said.

The 39-year-old Washington man was given a $10,000 secured bond.

Deputies say more charges are pending in the case.

The college said the instructor had no prior concerns with McKinney.

A college spokesman said the man has been dismissed from BCCC and banned from their campus and all their properties.