Lockdown Lifted at UNC Chapel Hill, Suspect Apprehended, Faculty Member Fatally Shot

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Emerges from Lockdown Following Fatal Shooting of Faculty Member

After an extended lockdown of over two hours due to reports of gunfire on campus, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill has been given the all-clear to resume regular operations. Law enforcement took a suspect into custody for the shooting that resulted in the death of a faculty member.

Around 1 p.m., the university issued an urgent alert, stating, “Emergency: Armed and dangerous individual on or near campus. Seek shelter indoors immediately; avoid windows.”

Local NBC affiliates noted a significant police and emergency vehicle presence near the Caudill Labs building on South Road.

Earlier information suggested that a suspect had been apprehended. However, at 2:35 p.m., UNC Police released an image of an Asian man wearing a gray shirt, identifying him as a person of interest.

“This photograph depicts an individual of interest linked to today’s situation involving an armed and dangerous individual. Should you encounter this person, maintain a safe distance, prioritize your safety, and dial 911,” the statement read.

Public Urged to Maintain Distance from Person of Interest, Prioritize Safety, and Dial 911 if Spotted

An alert was issued by Alert Carolina shortly before 2:30 p.m., indicating that the individual of interest remains unaccounted for.

Around 3:15 p.m., a notification was disseminated stating that all classes and University of North Carolina (UNC) events for the remainder of the day have been canceled.

Subsequently, at 4:14 p.m., law enforcement issued an affirmative declaration.

“Safe to proceed. Safe to proceed,” an announcement on UNC Police’s communication platform conveyed. “Resume usual activities.”

Another communication from UNC Police conveyed the lifting of the Shelter in Place advisory, while still advising individuals to avoid the vicinity of Caudill Labs.

During a press briefing on Monday evening, UNC Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz disclosed that authorities had successfully detained the suspect.

Guskiewicz also confirmed the tragic loss of a faculty member.

“I am deeply saddened to inform you that one of our esteemed faculty members lost their life in the incident,” the chancellor conveyed in a message sent throughout the campus. “We will refrain from disclosing further details until we have ensured the appropriate communication with the victim’s family.”

The identities of both the victim and the assailant were not provided by law enforcement during the media briefing.

Chief of UNC Police, Brian James, reported that a 911 call was received at 1:02 p.m., alerting them about shots being fired near the Caudill Laboratories on the UNC-Chapel Hill premises. By 2:31 p.m., as per James, the suspect had been taken into custody.

The lockdown was maintained for nearly an hour and 45 minutes after the suspect’s apprehension, as authorities needed to confirm the suspect’s identity, James clarified.

He also noted that the firearm utilized in the incident had not yet been located.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools posted on Facebook that students and staff will remain indoors until receiving an “all clear” directive from authorities, in accordance with safety protocols.

“In anticipation of these circumstances, it’s important to understand that the release of students from all educational levels will experience substantial delays today,” the school district stated. “Following the issuance of an ‘all clear’ signal, our standard dismissal procedure will commence, beginning with elementary students and followed by middle school and high school students. The exact time when it will be deemed safe to dismiss students and staff amid this ongoing situation is currently uncertain.”

A student, who preferred to maintain anonymity, recounted to Fox News Digital their experience within the Genome Science building, situated just opposite the Chemistry Lab. They detailed that an alarming notification abruptly appeared, reading, “ARMED AND DANGEROUS PERSON ON CAMPUS.”

“I immediately headed outside, assuming that it was the safest course of action, as potential targets would likely be larger gatherings. I was in a sizable lecture hall, approximately 250–300 individuals,” the student shared. “Once outside, I observed people rushing towards the Genome Science building. I decided to turn the corner and investigate further to ascertain the situation.

“It was at this point that I witnessed law enforcement officers readying their AR-15 rifles,” the student continued. “I heard a loud noise, a single bang, and that was all. I stayed within the vicinity and noticed individuals fleeing from the Chemistry lab. It was then that I began recording the surroundings.”

The student also expressed that the prevailing sentiment encompassing the campus could be summed up in a single word: “unsettled.”

“I had a friend who used to collaborate with him in the chemistry lab. However, he graduated last year and wasn’t [there]. Overall, it’s incredibly unexpected. We often come across news stories, but personally witnessing events like this firsthand was something I never anticipated,” the student further shared.

Laron Dowdell, 33, a graduate student at the nearby Duke University, resides in Chapel Hill right next to the UNC campus. He recounted hearing an announcement indicating the presence of an active shooter.

“I heard an unfamiliar and loud siren, followed by an announcement from the loudspeaker instructing everyone to seek shelter indoors,” he conveyed to Fox News Digital.

Initially, Dowdell admitted to feeling apprehensive, especially in the aftermath of the recent shooting of three Black individuals in Jacksonville, Florida, which authorities attributed to racial motives.

“I have to admit that I was initially quite fearful because I didn’t have insight into the shooter’s intentions,” Dowdell remarked. “Being a minority and a Black male, and considering what happened in Jacksonville (Florida), it really did unsettle me.”

A father who recently dropped off his freshman daughter at school two weeks ago also opted to remain anonymous. He shared that his daughter was barricaded in her room, taking shelter in her closet and texting for a duration of two hours.

“There was so much texting, discussions on social media threads, and constant news updates,” the father conveyed. “There were reports that the shooter was in her dorm hall, but we can’t confirm it. She mentioned hearing shots, but the details are still uncertain. It’s a feeling of helplessness.”

Today marks the first day of classes for the man’s daughter.

“The school didn’t directly communicate with our daughter, except through the Carolina Ready alerts app,” he explained.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, an alumnus of the university, released a statement regarding the situation just before 3 p.m.

“I’ve been in touch with Orange County Sheriff Blackwood and Department of Public Safety Secretary Buffaloe, assuring them of all necessary state resources to apprehend the shooter and ensure the safety of the UNC campus,” Cooper stated. “My office maintains open lines of communication with law enforcement and UNC-Chapel Hill officials, who are taking precautions to safeguard campus security after today’s shooting incident. It’s a tragic start to a new semester, and the state will provide whatever assistance is required to support the UNC community.”

The campus spans approximately 729 acres and boasts a student body exceeding 31,000.

Back in 2019, the university captured national attention when a former student opened fire within a UNC-Charlotte classroom, tragically taking the lives of two students and injuring four others.

In 2018, a noteworthy event occurred when numerous students scaled the Confederate monument known as Silent Sam at UNC-Chapel Hill. In a separate incident in 2006, a former student deliberately drove an SUV into a popular student gathering area on campus, allegedly in response to global Muslim deaths. The incident left nine students injured, and the perpetrator was later sentenced to 33 years in prison.

In June, UNC declared its decision to discontinue using race as a determining factor in admissions and employment choices, prompted by the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn affirmative action in college admissions.