Slaying of UNC Faculty Member Launches Tense Lockdown

UNC police took a suspect into custody after a search
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2023 7:25 PM CDT
Slaying of Faculty Member Launches Tense Lockdown
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz speaks at a news conference about a shooting in a campus building Monday in Chapel Hill.   (AP Photo/Hannah Schoenbaum)

A faculty member was shot to death Monday at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, sparking an hourslong campus lockdown and a search for the suspect. Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz told students in an email that he was "devastated and saddened" by the killing of the faculty member at Caudill Laboratories, the Washington Post reports. He said the victim's identity will not be released until relatives are notified. No other casualties were reported. A campus alert was first sent at 1:03pm. At 2:38pm, campus police said, the suspect was taken into custody, per WTVD. The labs, which the school website says is focused on chemistry, are across the street from the landmark Morehead-Patterson Bell Tower.

Campus police Chief Brian James said the suspect would not be identified until he was charged. It's too early to be sure of a motive, James said, and the weapon used has not been found. Sirens sounded, and the campus lockdown lasted a full three hours, with everyone told to shelter in place. Students waiting out the lockdown with others reported that people generally stayed calm. At one point, police escorted students with their hands up from the science buildings, per the AP. Helicopters circled. Parts of Chapel Hill shut down, as well. A week into the semester, the school canceled all classes for Monday and Tuesday.

A professor hiding in his office who was reached by a reporter said that he was once held at gunpoint in a store but said that this lockdown was "far more stressful." Noel Brewer added that, "the students who are locked down and what they're thinking about—it's just a lot." One student said she used furniture as a barricade in her dorm room. An exchange student from Denmark who's been in the US for two weeks said, "This never happens where I'm from," per the AP. Oliver Katz said he's concerned that his home college will make the exchange students go home early. "I don't want to leave," he said. "I like it here, and I do still feel safe." (More campus shooting stories.)

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