Chapel Hill, North Carolina — A University of North Carolina faculty member has been shot and killed in the campus building, officials said Monday.
UNC Police Chief Brian James said at a news conference that a suspect was arrested about an hour and a half after the shooting was reported. Students and faculty on the main campus had been holed up in bedrooms, offices and classrooms for hours until the lockdown was lifted.
“This loss is devastating, and the shooting damages the trust and safety we often take for granted in our campus community,” said University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill chancellor Kevin Guskowitz. He apologized to the students who “feel unsure about your safety right now.”
James said authorities have not released the suspect’s name and no formal charges have yet been filed. James said it was unclear if the suspect knew the victim, who police have yet to name while communicating with her relatives.
James said the shooting took place at Caudill Laboratories, which is closed while evidence is processed. He said the motive is unknown and the weapon has not been found.
James said the siren went off about two minutes after he received a 911 call reporting a shooting.
James said there were no other deaths or injuries.
About three hours after warning students to seek shelter indoors and avoid windows, the school posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, “All clear. All clear. Normal activities resume.”
The first alert was sent to the school shortly after 1:00 p.m. At 1:50 p.m., officials posted to X that the shelter-in-place order was still in effect and that it was an “ongoing situation.” About 40 minutes later, the school added a post that said: “Stay where you are. This is an ongoing condition. The suspect is at large.”
About two hours after the first alert was issued, officers were still arriving in droves, with about 50 police cars on the scene and several helicopters hovering over the school.
One of the officers berated two people trying to get out of the student center, shouting “Inside, now!” After about 10 minutes, law enforcement forces escorted a group of students out of a scientific building, and everyone was walking in an orderly line with their hands up.
Shortly before 4 p.m., students and faculty began moving out of the campus buildings, as the lockdown ended.
The report of the shooting and subsequent closure paralyzed the campus and parts of the surrounding town of Chapel Hill a week after classes began at the state’s leading public university. The university, which has about 20,000 undergraduate students and 12,000 graduate students, canceled classes on Tuesday.
During the lockdown, a female student told WTVD that she barricaded the door to her dorm with her furniture. Another student, speaking softly, described hiding in fear with the others in a dark bathroom.
Adrian Lanier, a sophomore in computer science, told the Associated Press that he and others sat against a wall, trying to stay as far away from doors and windows as possible. They waited for hours as rumors spread.
“Nobody felt safe enough to leave. I didn’t,” Lanier said.
Oliver Katz, an exchange student from Copenhagen Business School in Denmark, said some students crowded into the gymnasium locker rooms to keep away from windows while others sat in corners and sat on the floor. Police evacuated them hours later.
“It never happens where I come from,” Katz said. “It was intense. But I was a bit surprised the others didn’t panic so much.
Katz, who has only been on campus for two weeks, said he was concerned his home university would send exchange students home early. “I don’t want to leave. I love it here, and I still feel safe.”
Brewer, a professor of healthy behavior, told the Associated Press by phone during lockdown that he was once held at gunpoint in his mother’s jewelry store, but that Monday’s events were “much more stressful.”
Speaking from his locked office where he hid with other colleagues, Brewer, a 57-year-old married father of two, said he was given little information.
He also said he feels for anyone who may have been shot.
“But even in our dorm, the students who are closed off and what they think about — it’s just a lot. “It’s a terrible situation,” Brewer said.
The nearby Chapel Hill-Carborough City school district also closed its schools for several hours as a precaution.
Associated Press writers Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, Sarah Broomfield in Silver Spring, Maryland, Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, and Sarah Rankin in Richmond, Virginia, contributed to this report.