Exploring the National Perspective and UNC’s Experience : Gun Violence on Campus

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Due to reports of a person brandishing a weapon at the Student Union at 12:55 p.m., an Alert Carolina was put into effect. Nothing was fired, according to UNC Police. This particular incident included a personnel issue with one of our auxiliary units.

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UNC Chancellor Statement

At around 2:10 p.m., we sent the campus a “all clear” notification. A suspect is in custody, and law enforcement has concluded there is no longer an immediate threat to the school. Together with Chapel Hill Police, UNC Police is gathering data in order to maintain their thorough and expert response.

The news of a second armed individual and a lockdown on our campus following the event on Monday, Aug. 28, is alarming and potentially traumatizing. Because of this, we are in Condition 3 until today at 5 p.m. and then we’ll switch to Condition 2 until 11:59 p.m. The remainder of the day’s residential sessions have been canceled; all of them will resume tomorrow.

Please be aware that assistance is available, and these departments are prepared to provide it. Please get in touch with the Dean of Students team or Counseling and Psychological Services if you are a student, including graduate, professional, or postdoctoral students. The Employee Assistance Program is a resource that faculty and staff should use.

I appreciate how swiftly and effectively our UNC Police and Emergency Operations staff handled this problem. We appreciate the cooperation and patience of our instructors, staff, and students as we work to keep our community safe.

What took place?

According to UNC Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian James, witnesses saw the suspect brandishing a pistol over an employment dispute at Alpine Bagel in the campus’s Student Union. The suspect, Mickel Deonte Harris, 27, was identified.

According to a Chapel Hill Police Department press release, the individual was captured and detained “on outstanding warrants related to an assault an assault on September 5, 2023.”

According to him, police are still looking at Wednesday’s campus video. Despite the fact that the man’s motivation is still unknown, they “believe there was some sort of connection” between the armed individual and the suspect, according to James.

“It’s sad and alarming,” said UNC Chancellor.

Guskiewicz said, “It’s unfortunate and frightening that there have now been two lockdowns on our campus over the past 16 days when we’ve had to detain people who violated the safety and well-being of our community.

“I want to be clear: Guns are prohibited on our campus and every campus across the state of North Carolina,” he said, reminding the college community of the prohibitions on weapons on campus.

The second danger since the semester’s beginning

In response to threats of shooting on or near campus in the previous three weeks, school police have declared a lockdown twice, the most recent being on Wednesday.

A graduate student named Tailei Qi, 34, shot and murdered Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the department of applied physical sciences, on campus three weeks ago, putting the university community on lockdown for three hours. According to court documents, Qi was detained and charged with first-degree murder as well as possessing a gun on campus. The instances, according to Guskiewicz, are unrelated.

For UNC Chapel Hill law student Jason Naulty, the lockdown brought up unpleasant memories.Naulty and other students received the same warning while they were in the same classroom on campus where they had been on August 28.

Because the date of the alarm was sent out so close to the prior one, he and his peers believed there could have been a systemic error. But Naulty claimed he experienced a “magnified sense of frustration” when they learned that another armed guy was on campus.

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Thankfully, nobody was harmed in any way. I believe that today has left me feeling more frustrated than anything else in general.

Due to the lockdowns, Naulty and his classmates will have to make up the two classes they missed, he said, adding to his irritation over “gun policy and gun culture in this country.”

The Hill reported that on Tuesday at the North Carolina Legislature, protesters from the university’s March For Our Lives chapter urged people to vote out state lawmakers for failing to enact gun control and were then ejected from the hearing. During Wednesday’s lockdown, other students used social media to demand for more stringent gun laws.

According to official data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of shootings using guns on American school campuses has reached a record high, with 188 shootings resulting in fatalities during the 2021–2022 school year.

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