UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was placed on lockdown following an emergency alert regarding an armed and dangerous person on or near the campus. The alert was activated after reports of a person brandishing a gun and confronting a coworker inside the Student Union at Alpine Bagel. The suspect, identified as 27-year-old Mickel Deonte Harris, had an existing arrest warrant for assault on September 5. Harris left the scene in a vehicle, and the arrest took place off campus. No shots were fired, and the incident is believed to be related to a personnel matter.
UNC-Chapel Hill Police Chief Brian James explained that the lockdown was not immediate as police needed to confirm the situation before issuing an alert. He also stated that the delay in releasing a photo or video of the suspect was due to the simultaneous efforts of accessing footage and confirming the suspect’s location.
This incident comes two weeks and two days after the fatal shooting of Associate Professor Dr. Zijie Yan on campus. Tailei Qi, a UNC-Chapel Hill student, was arrested in connection with the shooting and charged with first-degree murder and a weapons count.
UNC-Chapel Hill canceled classes for the rest of the day and suspended non-mandatory operations following the lockdown. All classes are set to resume as scheduled on Thursday. Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, which were also under a “secure mode” lockdown, have issued an all-clear for their schools.
UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz expressed gratitude to the UNC Police and Emergency Operations team for their swift response. He acknowledged the concern and potential trauma caused by the incident and assured the community that efforts would be made to maintain a safe environment on campus.
The campus lockdown lasted for over an hour before an all-clear was issued. UNC-Chapel Hill officials have implemented changes to provide more frequent updates and improve communication during emergencies. The police department is reviewing the incident and discussing additional security measures, including technology upgrades.