US college faculty member shot dead on campus
A shooting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill left one faculty member dead and prompted a lockdown across the campus for more than three hours on Monday, as police apprehended the suspect and searched unsuccessfully for his weapon.
Alert sirens sounded shortly after a 911 caller reported gunfire near a chemistry laboratory in the middle of the campus at around 1pm on Monday. Students and staff reportedly barricaded themselves in classrooms, offices and dormitories until the shelter-in-place order was lifted at 4:15pm.
The victim hasn’t yet been identified. Police said it wasn’t yet clear whether the shooter knew the person he killed. The suspect was identified in media reports as Tailei Qi, a UNC-Chapel Hill doctoral student who studied physics at China’s Wuhan University and earned his master’s degree at Louisiana State University in 2021.
“This loss is devastating, and the shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted in our campus community,” UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said in a statement.
Local public schools also were locked down as a precaution during the shooter alert. The suspect was arrested at around 2:30pm, police said, and the lockdown remained in place as officers searched for the murder weapon and sought to verify that they had apprehended the right person.
“This is a tragic way to start a semester, and the state will provide any assistance necessary to support the UNC community,” North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper said in a statement.
Qi, who graduated from Wuhan University in 2015, is in his second year of studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. A July 31 post on an X (formerly known as Twitter) account under his name indicated that he “would like to make some new friends.” He added that he was “a bit stupid in daily trifles” but was “very enthusiastic talking about research.”