Two people were killed and four others were injured when a shooter opened fire in an academic building on the UNC Charlotte campus Tuesday — the final day of classes.
Three of the four injured students are in critical condition, reports The Charlotte Observer. The remaining injured student, Drew Pescaro, is the student newspaper’s sports writer and is listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery. The remaining victims have not been identified.
At approximately 5:42 p.m., police received a call of a suspect “armed with a pistol” who had shot several students.
Jeff Baker, chief of the UNCC Police and Public Safety Department, said campus police quickly responded to Kennedy Hall after shots were reported. The suspect was disarmed and taken into custody.
“He never had time to get out of the room,” Baker said in a news conference Tuesday evening. “We train to go to the sound. When we heard this call go out, everyone converged immediately.”
Campus police were close by getting their assignments and a briefing for an on-campus concert to be held Tuesday night when they learned of the shooting.
Just before 6 p.m. EST, the school issued a tweet, telling those on campus to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately,” and to monitor email.
At approximately 7:30 p.m., Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said the scene was secure and they had one person in custody.
An email sent to students at around 10 p.m. said police needed to clear every building before the lockdown could be lifted.
“Remain where you are, be prepared to identify yourself to police, raise your hands and follow officer commands,” read an email sent to students.
The school remained on lockdown until approximately 6 a.m. Wednesday morning. UNC Charlotte police and Charlotte-Mecklenburg police established a family reunification center at the local Harris Teeter supermarket.
Gunman Opened Fire During Student Presentations
The gunman, who has been identified as a 22-year-old student at the school, is facing several charges, including two counts of murder, four counts of attempted murder, four counts of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill, possession of firearm on educational property and discharging a firearm on educational property, according to CNN. He is expected to appear in court Thursday afternoon.
The student had withdrawn from all but one class for the spring semester, and it was in that remaining class that he opened during student presentations, reports KKTV.
Baker declined to answer if the suspect targeted certain students or if it was a random attack. He also said that the suspect was “not somebody who was on our radar.”
The school has suspended its operations through Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. Finals, which were scheduled for this week, have been canceled through Sunday.
“The days ahead will be some of the most challenging we have ever encountered,” UNC Chancellor Phil Dubois said in an email. “All I can say for certain is that we will get through them together.”
A vigil is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday and counseling for students is being offered in the Popp Martin Student Union building.
The FBI is assisting the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and other law enforcement agencies in the investigation.
We will provide additional updates as they become available.