A University of North Carolina employee was killed in a campus shooting
Police said a shooter killed a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s science building on Monday after a lockdown crippled the campus community while authorities searched for the suspect.
Police arrested the suspect over three hours after initial reports of a shooting from Caudill Labs, officials said at a news conference.
Charges were pending and the suspect was not immediately identified.
University officials did not immediately identify the employee who was killed and said it was too early to provide a possible motive.
“This loss is devastating, and the firing damages the trust and safety we often take for granted in our campus community,” said Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.
UNC Police Chief Brian James said the siren went off about two minutes after an emergency caller reported a shooting at around 1 p.m. local time at the lab in the heart of the main campus.
Students and faculty barricaded themselves in bedrooms, offices and classrooms until the lockdown was lifted around 4.15pm.
No other injuries were reported.
Adrian Lanier, a sophomore majoring in computer science, told the Associated Press that he and others sat against a wall in the gymnasium, trying to stay as far away as possible from doors and windows as rumors spread.
“Nobody felt safe enough to leave. I didn’t,” Mr. Lanier said.
Oliver Katz, an exchange student from Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, said some students crowded into the gym locker rooms to keep away from the windows, while others sat in corners and sat on the floor.
“It never happens in the area where I come from,” Katz said. “It was intense. But I was a bit surprised the others didn’t panic so much.
Mr. Katz, who has only been on campus for two weeks, said he worries his home university will send back exchange students early.
“I don’t want to leave. I love it here, and I still feel safe.”
During the press conference, Mr. Juskiewicz apologized to the students who “feel uncertain about their safety at the moment.”
The campus police chief said it was unclear if the suspect knew the victim. He also said that the weapon was not found.
“We are looking for a firearm. It is too early to say whether it is legal to obtain the firearm,” James said.
During the lockdown, the university frequently sent out alerts urging members of the campus community to stay put.
About two hours after the first alert was issued, officers were still arriving in droves, with about 50 police cars on the scene and helicopters hovering over the school.
Mr James said it took about an hour and a half to lift the lockdown after the arrest because the authorities were making sure a suitable suspect was taken into custody.
He added that police had also received calls around campus about other possible victims and gunshots that needed to be verified.
“We had to make sure the whole campus was safe,” Mr. James said.
The building where the shooting took place is a stone’s throw from the school’s famous bell tower and a few doors down from the shop selling student books and other merchandise.
Classes at the University of North Carolina, the first public university in the country, started a week ago. The university, which has about 20,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students, canceled classes on Tuesday.