At 6:31 p.m. during the Thursday, Aug. 19 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, a gunshot-like sound from outside the meeting room put the board’s security officers on alert and prompted two officers to leave the room and investigate the alarming sound from the street outside.
The nine Guilford County commissioners, who sit on the opposite end of the big window that overlooks downtown Greensboro, apparently didn’t hear the noise. They were talking when it occurred and they continued with the business of the meeting unaware of what was happening.
The security officers’ facial expressions were obscured by masks, however, the officers’ movements and activity clearly indicated their concern.
About three minutes later, one officer came back into the commissioners’ meeting room and reported something into the ear of Guilford County Emergency Services Director Jim Albright, who, upon hearing the report, looked instantly more relaxed.
The officer later told the Rhino Times that the noise was a sound effect or fireworks effect used at the Greensboro Grasshoppers game when a home run occurs.
The baseball stadium is little more than a stone’s throw away from the Old Guilford County Court House where the commissioners meet.
Albright said the sound effect from the game has caused county officials alarm before.
“It sounds just like a gunshot,” Albright said. “It scares the hell out of us.”
The sound effect used by the stadium does sound remarkably like a gunshot from the street below.
Thursday night, the Greensboro Grasshoppers were playing the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Over the past two years, there has been much greater security around the Guilford County Board of Commissioners. Years ago, there might have been two security guards at a meeting where no large crowd was expected. Now, it’s not uncommon to see a half dozen officers working the meetings, even though nearly no audience members show up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.