CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina – The University of North Carolina campus was placed on lockdown today after reports of an armed and dangerous person on or near campus. This incident took place only two weeks after a faculty member was fatally shot on the same campus. The campus alert was issued at 12:54 pm ET, urging students and staff to seek shelter indoors and avoid windows. Law enforcement officers are currently looking for a suspect involved in an incident at Alpine Bagel at the UNC Student Union, where an individual was seen with a firearm. No shots have been fired, according to sources.
Video footage from the scene shows law enforcement vehicles parked near the student union, located at the intersection of Stadium Drive and South Road. Sirens blared across the campus, creating a tense atmosphere. The university issued an updated alert at 1:54 pm, urging everyone to continue sheltering in place due to the presence of an armed and dangerous person.
This lockdown follows the tragic shooting of Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, on the Chapel Hill campus last month. A graduate student, Tailei Qi, was charged with first-degree murder and possessing a firearm on education property in connection with the incident. Campus police are urging anyone who witnesses suspicious activity to immediately call 911.
The timing of this incident is notable, as it occurred just 24 hours after UNC students protested state gun laws at the State House in nearby Raleigh. The students chanted “Vote Them Out” in the direction of the politicians present. Despite the lockdown, classes at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools are continuing, with the district implementing a “secure mode” lockdown.
Interestingly, the incident took place on the same morning as a UNC-Chapel Hill employee forum, where faculty and staff provided feedback on the university’s response to the August shooting. Additionally, the campus alarm went off just minutes after the university sent out an email requesting the community’s rating of their response to the previous shooting.
Hallie Brew, a sophomore at UNC-Chapel Hill, described the panic that ensued when the campus alarm sounded. She received texts from peers in the student union reporting people running outside, and expressed disbelief that such an incident could occur again so soon after the previous lockdown.
Authorities have not yet provided an update on the situation, but school officials have assured that once the threat is over, a different siren tone will sound along with a voice message announcing the resumption of normal activities.