CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — For more than three hours, the UNC-Chapel Hill campus was placed on a lockdown due to an active shooter situation that ended in a shooting death and one arrest.
University of North Carolina Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz confirmed a faculty member was shot and killed in a campus building. Their identity was not released as police are still in the process of contacting family members.
While one person is in custody, the weapon used in the campus shooting was still unaccounted for as of 6 p.m. Monday.
“This loss is devastating and the shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted in our campus community. We will work to rebuild that sense of trust and safety within our community,” Guskiewicz said.
Classes were canceled for the remainder of Monday and Tuesday. Guskiewicz encouraged students to take advantage of mental health resources on campus.
UNC said it will open a hotline starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday for concerned parents, loved ones and community members who have questions. The number is 919-918-1999
UNC officials said the suspect was taken into custody at approximately 2:38 p.m. UNC Chief of Police Brian James was unable to confirm the connection between the victim and suspect.
“It’s a day we trained for, but we hope it never comes,” James said about his department’s response to the shooting event.
Police released a photo of a person of interest Monday afternoon, but during a press conference Monday evening, would not confirm it was the same man arrested. According to the UNC website, the suspect image matches an ID photo for a student named Tailei Qi.
Formal charges have not been filed against the suspect in custody.
University police were notified of shots fired in Caudill Laboratories at 131 South Road around 1:02 p.m. That building will remain closed until further notice.
“We want to ensure that we gather every piece of evidence to determine exactly what happened here today and why it happened. It is too early in this investigation to know a motive for the shooting,” James said.
While rumors circulated online about a number of injuries, James confirmed there were no other injuries reported. He said witnesses at the scene were able to help them identify a suspect.
The initial alert, which went out at about 1 p.m. urged everyone on the school’s campus to stay inside and avoid windows. As of 4:16 p.m., the university issued an “all clear” alert to “resume normal activities.”
UNC officials added in the all-clear that everyone should “remain away from Caudill Labs while UNC Police continues to investigate.”
In the first video CBS 17 received from inside a building on UNC’s campus, law enforcement officers can be seen in a hallway within Caudill Labs. The officers are seen walking through with guns raised and wearing bullet protective vests.
Video courtesy Brendan Lynch
Monday night, Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger released a statement about the deadly shooting at UNC.
“We are heartbroken for the UNC students, faculty, and staff whose sense of safety on their beautiful campus was shattered by the day’s events and for those children, teachers, and staff who had to lock down on their first day back to our local schools,” Hemminger wrote in part.
A massive presence of law enforcement and EMS vehicles are lining the road outside of the Genome Sciences Building and South Road is largely blocked off. At least four agencies are responding on the scene as of 2:15 p.m.
Chapel Hill area buses were on hold due to the incident, according to a tweet sent by Chapel Hill Transit. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools were also under a “Secure Mode” across all campuses and offices, according to an update posted on their Facebook page.
As of 3:40 p.m., Chapel Hill school officials received an “all clear” from authorities and will begin their dismissal process for elementary and middle schools.
Just after 4 p.m., UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill issued an all-clear, which lifted their lockdown and resumed normal operations.
The North Carolina State Highway Patrol has their helicopter in the air to help in the search for armed the suspect.
UNC-Chapel Hill said in an update for people to stay sheltered in place and that all classes and events are canceled for the remainder of the day.
Governor Roy Cooper said via Twitter/X that he spoke with the Orange County Sheriff Blackwood and Dept. of Public Safety Secretary Buffaloe and “pledged all state resources needed to capture the shooter and protect the UNC campus.”
Gov. Cooper also added that his office is in communication with law enforcement and officials at UNC. He went on to say that this is a “tragic way to start a new semester” and that the state will provide any needed assistance in this incident.
CBS 17 has multiple crews on campus working to find out more.