(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — A University of North Carolina faculty member was killed Monday afternoon after a suspect opened fire on the Chapel Hill campus, prompting a lockdown for three hours, the school and police said.
The shelter-in-place alert went out around 1:02 p.m., following reports of shots fired around Caudill Laboratories, police said.
Tailei Qi was arrested after a brief search and charged with first-degree murder and misdemeanor possession of a gun on an educational property, according to court records.
Qi was arrested around 2:38 p.m. and police gave the all-clear and ended the lockdown around 4:14 p.m., police said. They advised people to avoid Caudill Labs indefinitely as it was still being searched for evidence by investigators.
UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz confirmed the death later in the evening but didn’t immediately identify the victim, as the school was awaiting to inform their next of kin.
“I am devastated and saddened by today’s shooting in one of our campus buildings, a place where we conduct our important work of teaching, mentoring and research every day,” he said during a press conference. “Our hearts are with the family of our fellow faculty member, those who are personally connected to the victim and those traumatized by this senseless act of violence.”
Classes and events have been canceled until Wednesday, the school said.
UNC Police Chief Brian James said the weapon used in the shooting was not immediately recovered and the investigation was ongoing.
“We want to make sure we gather every piece of evidence to determine what happened and why it happened,” he said during the press conference.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement, saying he has pledged state resources to help in the investigation
“This is a tragic way to start a new semester and the state will provide any assistance necessary to support the UNC community,” Cooper said.
Guskiewicz acknowledged the traumatic experience for students and faculty and encouraged them to seek out the school’s resources to help recover from the incident.
“The community needs to come together,” he said. “These events are sadly going on across the nation.”
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