Norfolk man arrested for going into N.C. school and displaying handgun, police say

Posted at 5:38 AM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 18:39:19-05

GREENSBORO, N.C. - An armed suspect was arrested after showing up at Ben L. Smith High School Monday afternoon, Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott told FOX 8 in North Carolina. 

Steve Brantley Spence

Steve Brantley Spence, 29, of Norfolk, Virginia, is in custody and faces several charges including attempted murder, having a gun on school property and other felonies.

Around 12:40 p.m., a school employee working as a monitor in the cafeteria noticed someone who did not fit in at the high school located at 240 S. Holden Rd.

After the employee confronted Spence when he first walked in the cafeteria, he allegedly showed the employee he had a handgun.

The school employee called for a lockdown and moved students out of the area. Spence left the cafeteria and went into the courtyard area.

Scott said the school resource officer confronted Spence and Spence pulled out two handguns, one in each hand. Court records show he was armed with a loaded .45 caliber pistol and 9 mm handgun and a backpack with eight boxes of bullets in it.

Spence then ran from the school resource officer and was caught after a brief foot chase by a School Resource Officer and assisting officers, Scott said.

Officers took Spence into custody on the edge of the school property after using a taser to subdue him.

Scott said Spence was involved in an assault in Virginia Beach Monday morning. Spence allegedly stole Denisha Hughes's 2016 Mercedes Benz and drove directly to Smith High School, where officers found another gun inside the vehicle.

Virginia Beach Police confirm there was a domestic disturbance in the 4700 block of Alicia Drive around 7:30 a.m. Monday. Authorities then took out warrants for Spence, charging him with domestic assault, strangulation, grand larceny and grand larceny - stolen auto.

Greensboro Police do not think Spence was targeting students. Police believe Spence’s intended target at the school was someone with whom he had a personal relationship.

According to court records obtained by WGHP,  Spence had what police believe to be a "hit" list with name of one woman in Virginia, two staff members at Smith High School and a family in Durham. In the letter, names of people in Maryland are also on the list as alleged targets.

The note, found in court documents, was taken by police and photo copied into evidence. The letter has since been sealed.

According to FOX 8, Spence appeared in court Tuesday afternoon and could be heard talking under his breath about a man named Jeremiah. Spence's uncle addressed the court saying his nephew is a good kid but has a history of mental illness.

A judge ordered a mental evaluation and set Spence's bond for $2 million.

Greensboro Police plan to have increased security at the school over the next few days. Many students did not attend on Tuesday.