Erwin Middle student bites, injures school resource officer

Published 1:59 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

SALISBURY — After being accused of smoking in a closet, a 13-year-old Erwin Middle School student on Wednesday bit a school resource officer, causing bleeding and bruising, the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said.

The officer, Tommie Cato, was treated at a medical clinic. An incident report states the 13-year-old student “broke the skin” when biting Cato and kicked him in the groin. The bite’s size was 1 inch by 2 inches.

The juvenile will face charges for assault on a government official and resisting arrest, the incident report states.

The incident occurred Wednesday after Erwin Middle School staff noticed several students missing from their assigned areas and that a closet in the girls locker room was locked. Three girls exited the closet as a coach was on the way to unlock the door, the Sheriff’s Office said. An assistant principal smelled smoke in the closet, the report states.

The three girls were taken to the front office and separated. The first “began acting very erratic and agitated” and was told an assistant principal would check her backpack, a Sheriff’s Office report states. That’s when the girl shouted profanities and left the building.

The girl was escorted back into the building and asked to hand over her backpack. She became violent and refused, but her mother later gave permission for a search, an incident report states. The girl stormed out of the principal’s office before being stopped by Cato. She continued being disruptive and tossed items onto the floor, the incident report states.

She was handcuffed to protect the safety of other students. That’s when she allegedly bit Cato.

Inside her backpack, officials later found three vaping devices.