CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Parents say when they arrived to Shamrock Gardens Elementary this morning, they knew something was wrong.  

“I came up and there was a lot of police officers,” said parent Kiara Mitchell. “A lot of things going on. I was kind of shocked at what was going on.” 

“They said someone broke in the school last night and slept there,” added a parent who didn’t want to be identified. “So they were just making sure nobody else was in there, didn’t have any weapons and what not.” 

That message was not conveyed to the whole school in east Charlotte. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools confirm someone broke into the building. Police officers went through the school, while some parents stood outside.  

As the clock approached 8 a.m. — the start time for school — they were still outside. 

“We were waiting over there for 45 minutes just freezing, so it made me really upset,” said one parent. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police on scene at the school Tuesday, Oct. 17.

Then at 8:15 a.m., parents received a recorded message from the principal of Shamrock Gardens. The message was also posted on a parent site for the school. CMS confirmed the break-in and said an investigation was underway. 

Students riding the bus were taken to nearby Garinger High School until given the all-clear. 

A source with CMPD told Queen City News they don’t believe anyone was caught. 

“I’m kind of concerned because we’re supposed to have a lot more security around here for things like that,” said Mitchell. 

Queen City News did ask CMS why the district waited to inform the school’s parents. A spokesperson wrote: 

“Messaging was sent out as soon as it was determined what the actual situation was at the school. We aim to provide accurate information in a timely manner and sometimes that means pausing to ensure that what is shared provides the facts.” 

Queen City News had a crew at the scene Tuesday where the school was placed on a brief lockdown, which was lifted before staff was ready to accept students by 8:19 a.m. and have students grab breakfast, and head to class, QCN was told.

Staff members were able to go back into classrooms and were asked to see if anything was disturbed in the rooms, Queen City News was told.

At least seven patrol units along with the Charlotte Fire Department were at the scene and law enforcement officials could also be seen on the roof of the school.

A parent told Queen City News families were contacted around 8:15 a.m. and that children remained on buses until an all-clear was given.