The motive for the shooting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill that left one faculty member dead Monday afternoon is still unclear, according to police.
Officials said a suspect was taken into custody about an hour and a half after gunfire on UNC’s campus was reported at a science building. Police have yet to identify either the suspect or the victim, noting that it was not clear whether the two knew each other.
“To actually have the suspect in custody gives us an opportunity to figure out the why and even the how, and also helps us to uncover a motive and really just why this happened today. Why today, why at all?” UNC Police Chief Brian James said. “And we want to learn from this incident and we will certainly work to do our best to ensure that this never happens again on the UNC campus.”
Just after 1 p.m. on Monday, James said UNC Police received a 911 call reporting there were shots fired at Caudill Labs. Just two minutes later, university officials issued an emergency alert and a lockdown, which lasted for hours as the police conducted their search for the suspect.
When officers arrived at Caudill Labs, they found one faculty member fatally shot. At about 2:30 p.m., the suspect was taken into custody, James said during a news conference.
The lockdown was not lifted until around 4:15 p.m. so that police could confirm they apprehended the correct suspect, the chief added. He also said the weapon has not been found yet.
“We are looking for a firearm. It is too early to determine if the firearm was legally obtained,” James added.
Classes had just started at UNC about a week ago. Officials cancelled classes Monday afternoon and Tuesday.
“I am grieved the report that one of our faculty members was killed in the shooting,” UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz wrote in a statement, noting that the school is waiting until next of kin is notified to release additional information on the victim.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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