FROM STAFF REPORTS

Two schools were placed on lockdown on Thursday as Statesville police officers searched for a man suspected of assaulting two individuals with a machete during an altercation in a homeless camp in Statesville.

Officers responded to an area near Pump Station Road about 12:33 p.m. after emergency telecommunicators received a 911 call reporting the incident.

After arriving in the area, officers discovered Christina Foster, 28, and Michael Forth, 35, both from Morganton, suffering from multiple lacerations, according to a Statesville Police Department news release.

The victims were transported to Atrium Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Foster and Forth, who are currently homeless, have been residing in the wooded area behind the City of Statesville Water Treatment Plant, located at the end of Pump Station Road. They informed authorities that they were involved in an altercation with another individual, David Morgan, who also lives in the same wooded area, according to the news release.

During the altercation, Morgan, 71, reportedly struck both victims with a machete, police said.

Officers began searching the area and located a witness who observed the incident. According to the witness, all three individuals were engaged in a physical altercation, during which Morgan sustained lacerations to his leg and hand from the same machete, according to the news release.

Despite the search efforts, Morgan was not located in the wooded area. Based on the preliminary investigation, officers believe the altercation was an isolated dispute concerning an area where Morgan was camping, according to the news release.

As a precautionary measure, Northview Academy and Statesville Christian School were placed on lockdown. There was never an immediate danger or threat to either of the schools, police said.

The SPD Violent Crimes Unit is actively investigating this incident and urges anyone with additional information to contact the Statesville Police Department at 704-878-3515.

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