Officials at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill say a suspect has been taken into custody following a shooting on Monday afternoon that claimed the life of a faculty member and forced students and others to seek refuge for hours as police searched for the shooter.
Shots were reportedly fired at the school’s Caudill Laboratories around 1:02 p.m. ET, and a suspect was apprehended just after 2:30 p.m., according to Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz.
The suspect’s and the faculty member’s names were not right away disclosed. According to UNC Police Chief Brian James, it was too early to determine a motive for the shooting.
“We really want to know the ‘why’ in this case and what led to it,” James said.
The chief said that the shooting’s gun had not been located.
According to James, it’s unclear whether the attacker and victim are acquainted.
“That will hopefully be uncovered through interviews of the suspect as well as any witnesses that may be available,” James said.
The killing is “devastating and the shooting damages the trust and safety that we so often take for granted in our campus community. We will work to rebuild that sense of trust and safety within our community,” Guskiewicz said.
At around 1 p.m., the school had sent out a warning to students instructing them to hide in place, later adding that a suspect was still at large. Just before 4:15 p.m., the university then gave the “all clear” signal.
According to officials, Monday and Tuesday were canceled for classes and campus events.
According to an email, university police encouraged students to enter the building right away, shut all windows and doors, and wait until further notice. They were stuck in their building and watched armed officers searching the school, according to a witness on campus who spoke to CNN.
A huge number of police cars with their emergency lights flashing were visible on the campus in a video from CNN affiliate WRAL in Chapel Hill. At times, a single-file line of people with their arms up emerged from surrounding buildings.
While the school went on lockdown, a WRAL reporter captured video of campus police encircling a person in handcuffs who looked to be wearing a dark shirt, pants, and glasses.
Around 32,000 students attend the university, together with over 4,000 faculty members and 9,000 staff personnel.