UNC-Chapel Hill Shooting: Graduate Student Allegedly Kills Faculty Member
A graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill allegedly shot and killed a faculty member on Monday afternoon, locking down the campus for several hours.
The suspect, Tailei Qi, a graduate student in applied physical sciences, was taken into custody on Monday afternoon. Formal charges are pending, police said at a press conference on Monday evening.
University officials and police did not identify the deceased faculty member, as they were working to notify their family.
Police have not pinpointed a motive for the shooting, but Qi’s Twitter posts expressed frustration, stress, and depression. This year and last, he made a series of vague posts about conflict with other students and his “PI” or principal investigator, usually a faculty member assigned by the university to work with students on research projects.
It is not clear whether that PI is the faculty member who was killed.
In one Twitter post on July 18, 2022, Qi wrote: “Just feel my privacy was insulted.”
In another post on October 31, 2022, he wrote: “Both the group of people to say I am lazy and that to prove me working hard instead of telling me that they are trying to consume my privacy.”
In a post on May 30 of this year, Qi wrote: “These kind of people may be a good man actually, but might not be a sincere friend.”
In June of this year, he posted a series of vague posts denigrating women.
On July 31, he posted about wanting to make new friends.
“Would like to make some new friends,” he posted. “I am a second-year PhD student, interested in nanoparticle synthesis, optical trapping, self-assembly, spectra analysis, and ML. a bit stupid in daily trifles, very enthusiastic talking about research. Reach me if inerest [sic].”
That same day he posted a single, cryptic sentence: “What is truth?”
The fatal shooting at UNC-Chapel Hill comes just days after a shooting on the campus of N.C. A&T University in Greensboro.
One person was injured in a shooting on that campus on Friday night after a physical fight escalated outside the student center on campus. As many as ten shots were reported to police. Though campus officials and police said students weren’t involved in the on-campus incident, Chancellor Harold Martin said the university is stepping up police patrols and using a new policy that allows police to remove unwanted people from the campus.
The THEMINUPDATES is working to gather more information about this developing story.