CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – Officials with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon to provide an update on the deadly on-campus shooting that happened Monday.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz confirmed that Dr. Zijie Yan died in Monday’s shooting. Yan worked as an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences.
“He was a beloved colleague, mentor and friend to so many on our campus, and a father to two young children,” Guskiewicz said.
UNC Chief of Police Brian James identified the shooting suspect as Tailei Qi. Police said the suspect and Dr. Yan knew each other.
According to police, Qi went directly to Dr. Yan and opened fire inside Caudill Laboratories on South Road, before leaving the building “very quickly” and running away on foot. Chief James said police arrived on scene within minutes, but Qi was already gone. However, FBI officials later located the suspect’s car on campus.
Qi was later found by authorities and taken into custody without incident on Williams Circle in Chapel Hill. He’s been charged with first-degree murder and possession of a firearm on educational property. Police said the weapon used during the shooting is still missing, and it’s too early to establish a definitive motive at this time.
Following Monday’s tragedy, Chief James said university officials will assess the situation and see if there are ways to make sure an incident like this doesn’t happen again.
“There are certainly some lessons to be learned from this incident,” he said. “The town of Chapel Hill and the UNC community is an overall safe community with very low crime, but we also have to understand that we can’t take that for granted and we always have to be prepared when we have a situation like this. So we will go back and look at anything we could’ve done better and we’ll make sure it doesn’t ever repeat itself.”
Guskiewicz also announced that classes are canceled for Wednesday, but university operations will then resume on Thursday. Caudill Labs will remain closed while the investigation continues.
In the meantime, Guskiewicz asks for continued support for the UNC community, as well as the victim’s family.
“In this time of profound sadness, I’m grateful for the strength of our Tar Heel community,” he said. “And I urge us to continue to build and strengthen our community together.”
You can watch the entire Tuesday afternoon update in the video below: