Aug 29, 2023 - Politics & Policy

UNC identifies faculty member killed by graduate student

Classes were canceled on Tuesday following a deadly shooting at UNC-Chapel Hill. Photo: Zachery Eanes/Axios

A UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student has been charged in the Monday killing of faculty member Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, the university said on Tuesday.

Driving the news: Tailei Qi, a graduate student that worked under Yan, has been charged with first-degree murder and bringing a gun on an educational campus, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

  • Qi was booked at the Orange County Detention Center on Tuesday morning.

The latest: The motive for the campus shooting is still unknown, but Yan was listed online as Qi's academic adviser.

Details: The shooting at Caudill Labs occurred on the first day of the university's second week of classes. It was also the first day for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

  • The initial 911 call reporting shots fired came in at 1:02pm, UNC Police Chief Brian James said, and lockdowns throughout the community soon followed. UNC didn't issue an all-clear until nearly 4:15pm.
  • In between, students took to social media to post videos and pictures, police detained and released a person who wound up not being the suspected shooter, and parents and community members refreshed their phones for updates.
  • Classes at the university were canceled on Tuesday.

Go deeper: More shootings push schools to reckon with backpack dilemma

Editor's note: This story has been updated with new information.

Go deeper