Faculty member killed during shooting at UNC-Chapel Hill

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Editor's Note: The article was updated Tuesday afternoon to include Duke President Vincent Price's statement and new information from UNC Police, which identified the victim and suspect. 

A faculty member was killed during a shooting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Monday afternoon.

First reports of an armed and dangerous individual were communicated to the UNC community at 1:03 p.m. Monday through AlertCarolina, UNC’s emergency notification system. Radio from Orange County Fire and EMS confirmed that shots had been fired in Caudill Laboratories in Chapel Hill, and that at least one person had been wounded at the time.

UNC Police Chief Brian James confirmed in a press conference Monday evening that the person who had been injured was a faculty member and is deceased. James added that “this was the only fatality, and no other injuries were reported.”

“I’m grieved to report that one of our faculty members was killed in this shooting. This loss is devastating, and the shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted in our campus community,” said UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz during the press conference.

At 2:35 p.m., UNC Police released a photo of a person of interest in the shooting, who was later identified as Tailei Qi, a doctoral student at UNC. Qi was charged with first-degree murder and possession of a weapon on educational property.

On Tuesday, authorities identified the victim as Zijie Yan, an associate professor in UNC's department of applied physical sciences. Yan served as an academic advisor to Qi, and Qi was part of Yan's research group.

James added that a full investigation is underway, which will take weeks.

The suspect was apprehended and taken into custody around 2:31 p.m., James said. An AlertCarolina indicating an “all clear” status was sent to UNC students, faculty and staff at 4:14 p.m. James added that after the suspect was taken into custody, UNC Police conducted a search for the weapon used in the shooting. Qi was charged with carrying a 9 mm handgun, according to his arrest warrant.

Duke sent out an initial DukeAlert to the University community around 4:06 p.m. — over three hours after the initial AlertCarolina message — indicating that an armed and dangerous person was reported on UNC’s campus. Around 4:30 p.m., Duke sent out an additional DukeAlert message, which said that UNC “issued ‘all clear.’”

Classes were canceled and other “non-mandatory activities” were suspended both Monday and Tuesday, according to UNC Police.

Duke President Vincent Price released a statement Tuesday morning. 

"Our hearts are heavy today as we grieve alongside our UNC colleagues and friends. As I have expressed personally to Chancellor Guskiewicz, the Carolina community has the full support of everyone at Duke," Price wrote.

The statement also included a link to a list of mental health resources available to the Duke community.

Mental health resources

Adway S. Wadekar profile
Adway S. Wadekar | News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity junior and former news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.


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