Sheriff's Department finds no evidence of gunshot near preschool

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 | 12:17 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Apple School is back to its usual routine after an early morning scare when children and teachers believed they heard a gunshot while on the playground.

The Boone County Sheriff's Department was unable to find any evidence of a shooting, Sgt. Micheal Perkins said. He said deputies talked to residents of Rock Bridge Estates, the neighborhood right behind the school, and no one else had heard a gunshot. Deputies did not find any shell casings in the surrounding neighborhoods.

The Sheriff's Department has closed the investigation, Perkins said. 

Director Nancy Watrous of Apple School, 5155 S. Providence Road, said children were on the playground when they heard a sound. A teacher thought the sound could be a gunshot, so staff members led the children into the building and locked the doors. 

A staff member at the school called police at 8:37, Perkins said.

Watrous couldn't describe the sound because she wasn't on the playground. She said the teachers who were supervising the playground described the sound as far away. 

"For all we know it could have been a firecracker or a car backfiring," she said.

Perkins said people often call the department after confusing firecrackers and backfiring cars for gunshots.

He said the school is near the county line, where it would be legal for someone to use a gun for hunting or target practice. 

Parents have called the school with concerns, but seemed relieved when they heard the circumstances, Watrous said. 

Supervising editor is Richard Webner.

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