CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — On Monday afternoon, the UNC-Chapel Hill campus was full of chaos and concern, after a deadly shooting prompted an over three-hour lockdown.
On Wednesday, the campus community was trying to move forward and grieve, both the life of a slain faculty member, and the loss of their sense of security.
Starting with silence, with the echoes of the UNC Bell Tower in the distance, a couple hundred students gathered on the quad for a rally.
“The reality is a professor was murdered on UNC’s campus,” said Mitchell Pinsky, a volunteer with Students Demand Action.
Investigators said 34-year-old Tailei Qi shot and killed 38-year-old Zijie Yan on Monday inside Caudill Labs, and then left campus, prompting an hours-long lockdown.
Yan was Qi’s faculty adviser and led their research group.
“Quite frankly, it was probably the most terrifying three hours of my life,” said Pinsky.
“It’s an extremely traumatic event that will affect us for the rest of our lives,” said another speaker at the rally.
These students now want change.
“The American reality is having to huddle in is having to huddle under desks and lock yourselves in classrooms because you don’t know if that active shooter is going to is going to is going to try and get through your door,” said Pinsky.
With signs reading, “Enough is enough,” and “This is our reality,” students at the rally hope the future will be different.
“[We need] stricter gun laws,” said Pinsky.
I want people to know that students and the community is enraged. We will not stand for this anymore. This does not have to be our reality. This is preventable. And we know that with the lawmakers and things that happened in the last session, that there are many opportunities for people to create safer communities for us,” said Kyle Lumsen, also with Students Demand Action.
Lumsen also hopes that the university, and all universities, will take a pledge and promise to divest from any gun lobby groups and companies.