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Sheriff: Voice message left at primary school not a threat after all

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BAYBORO, N.C. -

Parents are breathing a sigh of relief after finding out a threatening message to a local school wasn't actually a threat.

Administrators say someone called Pamlico County Primary School in Bayboro Thursday at 8:36 AM, leaving a voice message that sounded like gunshots.

Turns out it wasn't gunshots—it was construction noise, said Pamlico County Sheriff Billy Sawyer. He says the call came from a woman in Hobucken whose children go to that school.

Sawyer says she accidentally called the school while crews were fixing a utility line in the background. He would not provide the woman's name.

But for most of the day, parents and staff believed the sounds on that voice message were gunshots.

"I was scared. I was nervous. Worried about my son. I don't want anything to happen to him or anybody else's kids or anything like that," said Jeff Polaski, the parent of a 6-year-old kindergartner who goes to Pamlico County Primary School.  

The sheriff says he will put a deputy at the school tomorrow for extra security, as he did Thursday, to provide peace of mind.

The voice message put parents and school staff on high alert. A total of 81 parents came to the school to bring their children home early, said superintendent Wanda Dawson. The student population is 314, she said.

Parents were notified by an automated alert system, and outdoor recess was canceled following the seemingly threatening voice mail.

--- Original story ---

Lawmen and school officials say a disturbing voicemail discovered by staff at Pamlico Primary School Thursday morning was actually a accidental call by a woman surrounded by construction workers.

9 On Your Side has learned that the voicemail was left by a woman, who accidentally called the school while she was surrounded by construction workers using a jackhammer.

Earlier in the day, lawmen and school officials believed they had heard gunshots on the voicemail.

School administrators contacted their resource officer and the Pamlico County Sheriff's Office to investigate the incident. An extra officer is on campus just as a precaution.

Parents were also notified by the school system about the incident.

We'll have the full story tonight on 9 On Your Side.

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