UNC-Chapel Hill 2023 Shooting: Faculty member Shot & Killed

UNC-Chapel Hill

As per statements from university authorities and law enforcement, a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill reportedly shot and fatally wounded a faculty member on Monday afternoon. Afterwards, the campus was placed under complete lockdown for several hours.

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A graduate student studying applied physical sciences called Tailei Qi, was considered a person of interest and was apprehended by authorities on Monday. The Police mentioned during a press conference on the same day that the formal charges are pending.

UNC-Chapel Hill 2023

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University officials and the police did not identify the deceased faculty member as they informed his next of kin.

As per the police, Qi’s Twitter post had signs of frustration, stress and depression. However, there is nothing that could indicate a motive. Earlier this year and last, he had created a series of vague posts about conflicts with other students and his “PI” or principal investigator, typically a faculty member the university designates to work with students on research projects. It’s unclear whether the PI is the faculty member who was killed.

In October 2022, he posted again ambiguously about his dissatisfaction with the work environment: “Both parties are capable of saying that I’m lazy and that they’re trying to use my privacy instead of telling me that they’re working,” he tweeted on October 31.

“But it’s funny that when I talk to my PI about it,” they posted, “he says no one’s talked to him about it. So, it’s not optics for those people except seismologists?”

On June 5, he posted, “Many contradictory situations in society: rather than protecting the rights of the poor, it harms them more. There needs to be an increase in privileged treatment, not class quotas, for the protection of women.”

On the evening of June 12, he posted, “When a girl like that ‘shows’ off her ‘best’ to beg for money from others, everyone looks down on me.” “One type of angelic bitch.”

Several prior tweets had been deleted without context.

On June 30 this year, in another vague post, he seemed again frustrated with his work environment: “People like that can actually be good people, but they can’t be sincere friends,” they posted.

In July, Qi made a post about wanting to make new friends.

“Want to make some new friends,” they posted. Additionally, he posted ” a second-year PHD student, interested in Nano particle theory, self-assembly, spectroscopy, and ML. A little silly in daily small things, very enthusiastic about talking about research. Lemme know, if anyone is interested.”

University police sent an Alert Carolina message just after 1 p.m. Sunday, June 18, after reports of shots fired in Caudill Labs, where chemistry labs are located. All on campus classes and events were cancelled. Regardless of rank, this included any meetings of the Board of Trustees at the UNC-Chapel Hill.

Barricaded on campus for hours           

All university personal sought refuge in barricaded classrooms, libraries and bathrooms, while the police searched for the assailant. Around 2:35 in the afternoon, the campus police singled out a suspect for their attention.

As per the UNC-Chapel Hill police, an individual was initially apprehended on Monday but was subsequently released after confirming their non-involvement in the shooting incident. At around 2:31 PM, the police took Qi into custody. A UNC police statement said he was taken into custody near Williams Circle, a mile away from campus.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said at a press conference, “It’s time for our community to come together. Tragedies of this terrible, painful nature keep happening in our country. We are ready to speak and to resolve the issues raised by the community as a result. My community’s impacted family members, friends, coworkers, and children are currently in my thoughts and prayers.”

During the early afternoon, all UNC hospitals were on lockdown and a hospital spokesperson had mentioned that they have not received any walk in’s related to the recent incident. After the police issued a clear signal, the lockdown was lifted at around 4PM.

After the lockdown was lifted, police and FBI agents were on campus, surveying the area around Caudill Labs, where a window could be seen with a bullet hole.

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