You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

2 killed, 4 injured in UNC Charlotte shooting; suspect in custody

The Charlotte Observer logo The Charlotte Observer 5/1/2019 By Joe Marusak and Teo Armus, The Charlotte Observer

UP NEXT
UP NEXT
Video by NBC News

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Two people died and four others were hurt in a shooting in a building on the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

One person was arrested in the shooting, police said. Three of the four injured are in critical condition, UNCC police said at a news conference.

About 7:30 p.m. local time, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police tweeted that the “scene was secure” and that they had one person in custody.

“No reason to believe anyone else involved,” police tweeted.

Police had not officially named the suspect or the victims as of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, and the shooter’s motive was not known.

Two or three campus police officers quickly entered the building where shots were reported at about 5:42 p.m. and took a suspect into custody, Jeff Baker, chief of the UNCC Police and Public Safety Department, said at a news conference late Tuesday. “He never had time to get out of the room.”

The call reported a suspect “armed with a pistol” who had shot several students, Baker said.

“He (was) not somebody on our radar,” Baker said of the accused shooter.

Baker said he didn’t know how many students were in the area where the gunfire erupted. He declined to say if the suspect targeted certain students or fired at random.

Of the quick response by campus police, Baker said: “We train to go to the sound. Those officers are trained to do that, and you can see (that training) is important to do. I’m not sure about him being an active shooter, but our officers’ actions definitely saved lives … When we heard this call go out, everyone converged immediately.”

Baker said he entered the building right after the first two or three campus officers did. CMPD officers also quickly responded to assist campus police, he said.

Baker said rumors that the suspect entered a library on campus were not true. “He did enter a building on campus,” according to the chief. “It was not the library. That is not accurate.”

Slideshow by photo services

Tuesday was the last day of classes.

After shots rang out, campus officials urged everyone in a tweet to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.”

“ACTIVE ASSAILANT,” warned the university’s website.

The university first tweeted about the incident just before 6 p.m. Shots were reported near the Kennedy building on campus, according to the tweet.

In a second tweet, at about 6:25 p.m., university officials said a campus lockdown continued. “Remain in a safe location. Monitor email and UNCC homepage,” the tweet advised.

In a third alert, the university’s office of emergency management said “buildings being swept by law enforcement. Law enforcement is individually sweeping buildings on campus. Follow officer commands.”

Campus police said they were meeting to prepare for a Waka Flocka Flame concert to be held on campus Tuesday night when they learned of the shooting.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police told UNC Charlotte students and families to head to 8600 University City Blvd. at the Harris Teeter supermarket to reunite with their families.

Students on campus texted loved ones that they were safe.

UNC Charlotte librarian Laura McShane was working at her desk in nearby Atkins Library when she “heard a ruckus” loud enough to sound through her headphones as she listened to the “Game of Thrones” soundtrack.

“Students were running down the hall right behind my office,” McShane told The Charlotte Observer by phone from campus. “I was about to go out and shoosh them (to be quiet). I had no idea something like that was happening. Almost immediately a student said there was a shooter on campus.

a man standing in front of a group of people posing for the camera: Chief Jeff Baker of UNC Charlotte Campus Police conducts the first briefing in the aftermath of fatal shootings on the campus of UNC Charlotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. © David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer/TNS Chief Jeff Baker of UNC Charlotte Campus Police conducts the first briefing in the aftermath of fatal shootings on the campus of UNC Charlotte on Tuesday, April 30, 2019.

“I said get in,” McShane told the students as she ushered seven into her office. “It happened so fast I nearly closed the door on one student. I took a big table and barricaded the door, and we got back in the back corner. I said if anyone is out there, they would not find us here.”

McShane said she told the students “to stay calm. I offered them snacks, and I had a water bottle I gave to one student. We were quiet as mice.”

She thought at first that a shooter was in the library. “The first three to five minutes were the most terrifying of my life.”

Kelley Whall, 33, works in the grants and development department at UNC Charlotte. Her colleagues watched as stretchers arrived on campus, she said, and a couple of people remained locked down in the office. Her 19-year-old brother, a psych student, hid in a bathroom in Levine Hall, a dorm, as he waited for a choir concert. He is safe but was still on lockdown Tuesday evening.

Devin Searcy, 19, said he was attending a baseball game when he got a text from his mother, Helen Searcy, a student and employee on campus.

She texted him from inside a closet at Bell Gym — about a quarter mile from the library — where she was hiding with several other people. “Stay put,” she texted. “Don’t come here.”

Searcy was evacuated with others from the baseball game. “I’m just hoping she can get out of there safely,” Searcy said. “I just can’t believe what’s going on.”

Baljit Singh, 31, said three family members were on campus at the time of the shooting: his brother and two cousins, one of whom was still locked in the library hiding under a desk. She was told she couldn’t immediately leave, he said.

“It’s a crappy world that we live in,” Singh told the Observer after driving up from South End to meet his family.

Daniel Cardoso, 25, is a grad student in information technology who had a class scheduled for Wednesday at the Kennedy library, where the shooting occurred. “It’s very surreal,” he said. “When I get a text message like that is that it must be something happening in the surrounding (area).”

As news of the shooting spread, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., said on Twitter, “Absolutely horrific news at #UNCC Susan and I are grateful for the first responders at the scene and our thoughts are with the @unccharlotte community.”

Said Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., on Twitter: “Renee & I are heartbroken to see violence at my alma mater @unccharlotte. Grateful for the quick action of 1st responders & police. Our prayers are with victims, their families & the #49er community. I’ll continue to monitor the situation & pray for the safety of our campus #UNCC.”

———

(Fred Clasen Kelly and (Raleigh) News & Observer staff writer Martha Quillin contributed.)

———

©2019 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

AdChoices
AdChoices

More from The Charlotte Observer

The Charlotte Observer
The Charlotte Observer
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon