A faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was shot and killed in a campus building Monday afternoon, officials said in a press conference.
Shortly after 1 p.m. ET, UNC Police were notified of shots fired at Caudill Laboratories, a chemistry building near the center of campus. UNC Police arrived at the scene and found one faculty member shot. No one else was injured, UNC Chief of Police Brian James said.
The faculty member has not been identified pending notification to their family. The motive of the shooting is still unknown.
“This is truly a tragic case for our campus community,” UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said. “This is really a time for the community to come together. These tragic events sadly are happening across our nation.”
Classes at UNC Chapel Hills were canceled for the rest of Monday and on Tuesday. The University has also sent resources to students, faculty and staff, Guskiewicz said.
“I’m sorry so many of you are feeling uncertain about your safety right now . . . We’re here for you. I’m pleading with you to use any of the resources that you many need and we’ll come together as a community to ensure your safety,” Guskiewicz said to a group of students who attended the press conference.
A suspect was identified and brought into custody at 2:31 p.m. ET, but their identity will not be released pending formal charges, James said. UNC Police underwent a verification process of the suspect before lifting the campus lockdown at 4 p.m. because “we wanted to be sure we had that person in custody and it was the correct person.”
“It’s a day we trained for, but we hope never comes,” James said. “We are committed to conducting a thorough investigation.”
Another person who matched the description and was at the location near the time of the shooting was detained, causing confusion for students and staff on campus. James said “we determined very quickly that was not in fact the suspect.”
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was given the “all clear” to resume normal operations at 4p.m. ET after being on lockdown for three hours following reports of an “armed and dangerous” person.
The Caudill laboratories will be closed until further notice while evidence is collected, James said.
Videos on social media show dozens of police officers responding to the scene and a helicopter flying over the campus. People in the video are also seen running away from the buildings.
The UNC health system has “not received any patients from this active shooter situation at this time,” said Communications Specialist Tom Hughes in a statement to USA Today.
UNC hospitals in Chapel Hill were also on lockdown following the reported shooting. The hospitals later resumed normal operations. All outpatient clinics on the UNC campus were closed for the rest of the day.
Classes this semester began Aug. 21.
Beth Morocco, a public health professor who researches violence, told ABC11 she was in a faculty meeting when the alert went out.
“It’s usually a time of energy and enthusiasm, and to have something like this happen is really awful,” she told the station.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said on X that he had spoken with Orange County Sheriff Charles Blackwood and Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Eddie M. Buffaloe Jr. and “pledged all state resources needed to capture the shooter and protect the UNC campus.”
Cooper, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees from UNC, said on X that “this is a tragic way to start a new semester and the state will provide any assistance necessary to support the UNC community.”
Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, which are near the Chapel Hill campus and were open for the first day of class this school calendar, were given the “all clear” from the proper authorities,” to begin the dismissal of elementary and middle school students at 3:40 p.m. ET, the district said on X. Dismissal for their elementary and middle schools were delayed due to the reported shooting.
“We thank you in advance for your patience as we transport students home safely,” the district said.
The district was in “secure mode” since the initial alert Monday afternoon and said on X they would not be releasing students to their families until the situation was deemed safe. All afterschool activities for schools in the district were canceled Monday.