Story by: WPTF Staff
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post will be continually updated to reflect the latest information. Live updates will be broadcast on WPTF 680AM and WPTF.com. Listen LIVE Link: WPTF.com.
08/29/2023 1230pm In a statement to the media, Monday’s fatal shooting at UNC Chapel Hill as Zijie Yan, a faculty member in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences. Officials say that Yan has worked at UNC since 2019. According to a written release, “The University is in contact with Yan’s family and is providing resources and support.”
The suspect in the shooting has also been positively identified as Tailei Qi, a graduate student at the school. Police say he faces two felony charges: first degree murder and possession of a weapon on educational property. Qi is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail.
08/28/2023 1830 UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz issued the following statement to the UNC community:
| Dear Carolina Community, This afternoon at 1:02 p.m., UNC Police were notified of shots fired in Caudill Laboratories on our campus. At approximately 2:30 p.m., the suspect was apprehended and is now in custody. Police issued an “all clear” to campus at approximately 4:15 p.m. There is no longer an immediate threat. UNC Police are working closely with Chapel Hill Police Department to gather information and continue their thorough and professional response. I am grieved to report that one of our faculty members was killed in this shooting. We are waiting for confirmation that the next of kin has been contacted before we share more information. 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. This shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted on our campus. We will work to rebuild that trust and safety. 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. In response, we have cancelled classes and all campus events for the rest of the day on Monday, Aug. 28 and Tuesday, Aug. 29. The campus is moving to Condition 2 until midnight tomorrow. Please know that support is available and these departments stand ready to help. Students, including graduate and professional students and postdocs, please contact the Dean of Students team or Counseling and Psychological Services. For urgent concerns, please call 919-966-3658, the emergency protocol line. Faculty and staff should reach out to the Employee Assistance Program. More information will be provided on additional counseling services and opportunities to grieve and process. I am grateful to our Emergency Operations Center and UNC Police for effectively managing this situation and to our faculty, staff and students for their cooperation to ensure the safety of our campus community. I am praying for the victim, their family and every member of the Carolina community. We will send more details and information as soon as we are able. Sincerely, Kevin M. Guskiewicz
08/28/2023 1757 At the press conference officials confirmed that shots were fired at Caudill Laboratories. The name of the victim, identified at this point only as “a member of the faculty,” has not been formally released pending notification of family. Classes and events at UNC are cancelled for the remainder of August 28, 2023 and August 29, 2023.
UNC Police Chief Brian James said, “It is a day we train for, but a day that we hope never comes.” He says that there are many questions that will remain unanswered at this time as the investigation remains active. The name of the suspect will not be formally released pending formal charges. Captain James acknowledged the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Caudill Laboratories was the scene of the fatal shooting. No other injuries were reported.
The suspect was taken into custody at 2:31pm. Captain James said that the lockdown remained in force while a search was conducted for the weapon used. That weapon, Captain James said, has not been located as of this posting. No specific information regarding the nature of the weapon, other than that it was a firearm, is being released pending further discovery by law enforcement.
Police say that a second person was initially detained, based on a description of the suspect and that person’s proximity to the scene. Police say that person was cleared, however, and eventually determined not to be a person of interest.
08/28/2023 1742 WPTF has confirmed that one faculty member was killed in the shooting. Police have not yet formally released the name of the victim.
08/28/2023 1717 Authorities are expected to be holding a press conference at 5:45pm.
08/28/2023 1626 Although the lockdown has been lifted, the public is being urged to “avoid Caudill Labs” and the immediate area.
08/28/2023 1620 The “all clear” has officially been issued by authorities are UNC Chapel Hill.
!Alert Carolina!— UNC Police (@UNCPolice) August 28, 2023
All clear. All clear. Resume normal activities. https://t.co/7frHnEuMIU
08/28/2023 1616 Reports are that students are no longer sheltering in place. Students on the UNC campus are telling WPTF that students and others are being allowed to leave buildings.
UNC student and WPTF reporter Anthony DeHart says, “It is going to be a while before we return to that sense of calm…This is the kind of thing that you see happening to other people…and this now hits very close to home for the UNC community.”
08/28/23023 1540 The “all clear” has been issued for Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools. A note posted on the district’s website reads as follows: “We have received the “all clear” from the proper authorities, which means our dismissal process will now begin for elementary and middle schools. High schools will dismiss at their normal time (4 p.m.). What this means: > Students who walk or ride to school: Will be able to leave at the dismissal time (this includes being picked up in the car rider line.)
> Students who ride a school bus: May experience a significant delay. (For example, buses will need to complete their elementary routes before beginning middle school routes, etc. There may also be traffic delays.) We thank you in advance for your patience as we transport students home safely. “
08/28/2023 1515 The Chapel Hill Carrboro City School District says its students and staff will remain in a “secure status” while law enforcement searches for at least one suspect who allegedly opened fire on the campus of UNC Chapel Hill this afternoon.
The following is posted on the district’s website:
“For planning purposes, this means dismissal at all levels of school will be significantly delayed today. Once the “all clear” is given, we’ll begin dismissing in the usual order, with elementary students first, followed by middle schools and high schools. We do not yet know what time it will be considered safe to dismiss students and staff during this ongoing situation.“
In the meantime UNC Chapel Hill says that all classes and events today are cancelled. Everyone is advised to remain sheltered in place until further notice.
08/28/2023 1439 According to Alert Carolina at least one suspect is still at large. Authorities are advising those on campus to remain sheltered in place. In an Alert Carolina post, officials say, “This is an ongoing situation. Suspect at large.”
08/28/2023 1435 The Chapel Police Department is releasing a photo of the suspect identified as being at large.
This photo shows a person of interest in today’s armed and dangerous person situation. If you see this person, keep your distance, put your safety first and call 911. pic.twitter.com/NHG5CTjby4— UNC Police (@UNCPolice) August 28, 2023
08/28/2023 1433 UNC Chapel Hill remains on lockdown as law enforcement activity continues on the campus. Students, faculty, visitors, and staff continue to shelter in place.
UPDATE: 08/28/2023 1342 A student on campus tells WPTF that there are multiple reports that several people have been shot. Witnesses say a helicopter has landed on the hospital.
08/28/2023 1304 UNC-Chapel Hill is under lockdown after reports of an active shooter on campus.
Multiple law enforcement agencies are on the scene.
There are several unconfirmed reports that someone was shot in front of Caudill Labs. In a post to “Alert Carolina,” authorities say, “The University has activated the Alert Carolina sirens because police report an armed and dangerous person on or near campus. University police are advising all students, faculty, and staff to: Go inside immediately; Close windows and doors; Stay until further notice; Follow directions from emergency responders or University officials. The University will provide the most recent information on alertcarolina.unc.edu and the UNC social media accounts. If you are directed by police or University personnel to take (specific) action, please comply immediately.”
Reporting by: Bruce Ferrell, Anthony DeHart, Kristine Bellino, Chris Edwards, Jeff Hamlin