A college student with a history of controversial social media posts was taken into custody under suspicion. According to university officials and the police, on Monday afternoon, at UNCI-Chapel Hill, a graduate student allegedly shot and killed a fraternity member, leading to a lockdown of the campus for several hours.
The graduate student, known for posts related to skepticism, conspiracy theories, and practical physics, was apprehended in custody on Monday afternoon. Police announced at a press conference on Monday evening that formal charges were pending.
University officials and the police did not identify the deceased fraternity member as they had informed his family. The motive remains unclear, but the graduate student’s Twitter posts have expressed frustration, stress, and sadness. Over the past year, the student had made vague posts about conflicts with other students and their “PI” or principal investigator, who is typically a member of a team appointed by the university to work with students on research projects.
It is not clear whether the alleged PI is the same person who was killed.
On July 18, 2022, the student wrote in a Twitter post, “I feel like my privacy has been violated.” This is deeply frustrating. My pride keeps me from working. Then it takes a lot of effort to convince myself that I do what I do only because I enjoy it.”
Last year, on August 1, they posted:
“Crime in America seems to be a problem. It often happens that people don’t stop them the first time. Clarification is not a solution, but it makes them feel that whenever they raise an issue, others will demand explanations, keeping them busy finding excuses.”
On August 18, 2022, they posted again about their struggles with their PI and fellow students:
“I”I recently had a conversation with my academic advisor and relied on his guidance.” He should have more experience dealing with these girls and tattletales. Then, we can get ourselves out of these foolish subjects. Let’s focus on nature only.”If there’s no requirement, I won’t make any alterations
In October 2022, they continued with unclear posts about their struggles with their PI and other students: “Both groups say that I’m lazy and I have to prove that I’m working hard, rather than trying to enjoy my privacy,” they posted on October 31, 2022. “I think their motivation is just to tell my PI and then manipulate me by telling stories. But it’s strange when I talked to my PI about it.” “He said no one had talked to him about this. So, there’s nothing more than speculation for these people?”
In a post on May 30 this year, they once again expressed frustration about their working environment: “People like this can be good individuals, but not honest friends,” they posted. “In the realm of doctoral studies, it’s crucial to dedicate focused time to tasks during designated work hours… Although there might be expectations for me to be visibly engrossed in work, that’s not the case.. is not at all humane.”
In June this year, they posted a series of unclear posts that seemed to malign women.
On June 5, they posted: “Several biased (SCI) situations in society: Minimum wage harms the poor more than protecting them; Gender quota is not for the protection of women, but to increase discrimination.”
On June 12 in the evening, they posted, “When a girl like this puts on her ‘best’ show, begging others for my ‘help’, then everyone looks at me with disdain.”
Several earlier tweets were deleted, leaving no context behind.
On July 31, they posted about wanting to make new friends: “I want to make some new friends.” “I’m a second-year Ph.D. student, interested in nanoscale analysis, optical trapping, self-assembly, spectroscopy, and ML. A bit of a fool in everyday small talk, very enthusiastic about discussing research. Contact me if interested [sic].”
On the same day, they posted a cryptic sentence: “What is truth?”
The Chapel Hill Board of Trustees.
While police were searching for the shooter, students, teachers, and staff took shelter in classrooms, libraries, labs, and dormitories, turning off lights and barricading doors.
At 2:35 pm, the university police released a picture of the suspect and described them as a person of interest. According to UNC-Chapel Hill Police, a separate person, not initially involved in the shooting, was initially taken into custody on Monday but later released. Police took the suspect into custody at 2:31 pm. According to a statement from UNC Police, about a mile away from the William’s Circle campus.
At a press conference, Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz said, “This is truly a time for the community to come together.” “It’s unfortunate that these tragic incidents are happening throughout our country. So, we prepare and have conversations about the community’s feelings. Currently, my thoughts and prayers are with the affected families, friends, colleagues, and students who are part of that department.”
UNC Hospital was locked down immediately in the afternoon, although a hospital spokesperson said no injured individuals related to the incident had been found. The locks on the hospital were removed shortly after 4 pm, and police declared “all clear.”
Following the lifting of the lockdown, police and FBI agents were on the campus and spreading out in the Kedil Labs area, where a bullet hole could be seen in a window.
During a media briefing, James expressed, “Such days are what our preparation is geared towards.” “However, our aspiration is that such situations never arise.”
Monday was the second week of the fall semester on campus. Tuesday’s classes have been canceled.