ONS Daily

UNC Chapel Hill Lockdown Lifted After Man With Gun Arrested; Students Frustrated by Weapon Culture

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp
In a swift response to a concerning incident, local police at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill quickly cleared students, faculty, and others to “resume normal activities.” This relief came more than an hour after the school community was plunged into a state of lockdown due to a warning of an “armed and dangerous person.” This marks the second time this semester that the university found itself under lockdown due to a similar threat. UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, in a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, announced the cancellation of classes for the rest of the day. At 2:10 p.m., local police officially declared “All clear” on X, formerly known as Twitter. The lockdown began at 12:54 p.m. when the university sent out an email alert, activating the Alert Carolina sirens. The message cited a police report regarding an armed and dangerous individual on or near campus. The community was instructed to “go inside immediately, close windows and doors, stay until further notice,” and “follow directions from emergency responders.”

What Unfolded?

According to Brian James, the chief of police at UNC Chapel Hill, witnesses reported the suspect brandishing a firearm at Alpine Bagel, a campus bagel shop. The altercation stemmed from an employment-related conflict. The suspect was later identified as Mickel Deonte Harris, 27. Harris was apprehended and arrested “on outstanding warrants related to an assault on September 5, 2023,” as stated in a news release from the Chapel Hill Police Department. While police are still reviewing campus footage from Wednesday’s incident, James mentioned that there appears to be some connection between the armed individual and Harris, though the motive remains unclear.

UNC Chancellor Expresses Concern

UNC Chancellor Guskiewicz expressed his concern, saying, “It’s sad and alarming that there have now been two lockdowns over the past 16 days on our campus where we’ve had to apprehend individuals who violated the safety and well-being of our community.” He took the opportunity to remind the campus community about the strict prohibition of firearms on campus, emphasizing that this policy extends to every campus across the state of North Carolina.

Second Lockdown This Semester

This recent lockdown is the second of its kind issued by campus police in response to threats of gunfire on or near campus within the last three weeks. Three weeks prior, the campus community endured a three-hour lockdown when a graduate student, Tailei Qi, 34, shot and killed Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the department of applied physical sciences, on campus with a firearm. Qi faced charges of first-degree murder and having a firearm on campus, as documented in court records. Chancellor Guskiewicz clarified that these incidents are not related. For law student Jason Naulty, who experienced both lockdowns in the same classroom, the second incident raised questions about the reliability of the alert system. Initially, he and his peers speculated that there might be a system glitch due to the close timing of the alerts. However, the realization of another armed individual on campus left Naulty with a “magnified sense of frustration.” Naulty and his fellow students now face the additional challenge of making up for the two missed classes due to these lockdowns. This further compounds his concerns about “gun policy and gun culture in this country.”

Calls for Change

Protestors from the university’s chapter of March For Our Lives convened at the North Carolina Legislature, urging people to vote out state legislators for their inaction on gun reform, as reported by The Hill. Meanwhile, other students turned to social media during Wednesday’s lockdown, demanding stricter gun control measures in the state and across the nation. As the nation grapples with the concerning rise in gun-involved incidents on school campuses, with 188 such incidents resulting in casualties during the 2021-2022 school year, according to federal data from the National Center for Education Statistics, the UNC Chapel Hill community continues to seek solutions and demand change.
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Pinterest
Pocket
WhatsApp

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Leave a comment

Recent News