Knife Wielding Suspect Caught on Campus

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BREAKING: Today, at UNC Chapel Hill, at approximately 4 P.M. an argument broke out in the student union resulting in a knife being drawn and campus going to lockdown. Several students witnessed the ensuing fight and agreed to speak to the Carolina Review.

The argument began in front of the popular union restaurant the Alpine Bagel, according to Chris Donaldson and Ryan Graves:

“We were studying in the middle of the union. The big guy was waiting in line to pay for his food when the guy with the multicolor aviators, olive jacket, hat, and jeans came in. The two made eye contact and without any words being said the knife guy took his glasses and jacket off and pulled out his pocketknife and switchblade. He told the innocent guy to get the (expletive) out of the building now. One girl told him to watch his language. The knife guy followed the innocent guy out of the union over to Lenoir (Dining hall) which was closed. Ryan and I chased after both of them to make sure nothing happened. We went in the doors of Lenoir and the knife guy was on the left stairs and had the innocent guys cornered on the right stairs. We told the knife guy to stay where he was and the innocent guy to come down the stairs and out the door. The knife guy told us to get the (expletive) out and pointed the switchblade at us. The innocent guy came down the stairs and we walked with him back to the union and the knife guy followed us halfway and was yelling at us and then started walking off up past Davis.”

Katherine Deagan was the girl who shouted at the suspect (via Twitter @katiedeagan)

I said to him “Watch your language bruh.” The crazy guy (suspect) told me to (expletive) off. Crazy guy proceeds to follow victim outside the union and to the bottom of Lenior dining hall. Two students (Chris and Ryan) followed after. They found the victim cornered by the stairs and the “cray” guy with a pocketknife and switch blade. The students (again Chris and Ryan) told victim to follow them (to safety). Victim and students came back to union and the came back to union, and the crazy dude walks past Davis (library).

After returning to the union, the police were called and campus officials jumped into action. Being on the third floor of the union, (Alpine is on the second), I was evacuated to the second floor about five minutes after the sound of the first siren and alert text message at 4:24 P.M. approximately ten minutes after the police were called. For a short period, all students were stationed in the second floor, the quickly moved to the bottom of the union away from windows and doors.

By around 4:35, twenty minutes after the incident, we were all at the bottom of the union. During this time, reports of officers searching the library were coming through and that the suspect was headed towards North Campus/ Franklin Street area. Student Angelica Rankin compared the police presence to a “swat team” combing the library. At 5:10 P.M the official Davis Library twitter account confirmed a police presence.

Around 5:02, reports from the Daily Tar Heel claimed that the suspect was in custody. Concurring reports ten minutes later came flowing in and at 5:12 P.M. WRAL confirmed via twitter that the suspect had been taken into custody in the area around Chapel of the Cross- an Episcopal church that adjoins campus.

The names of the suspect and victim have not been released, nor has motive been established. The all clear was issued 5:18 P.M via text and siren. No injuries were reported in this incident.

Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE 10:30 P.M.,: An email from the office of the Chancellor states:

“I am grateful that today’s incident involving a potentially dangerous person near the Pit ended without injury and with a rapid return to a safe, secure campus. “

It goes on to say:

“Throughout the Alert Carolina siren activation, our Department of Public Safety team responded quickly and effectively. Their professionalism and emphasis on community safety was evident from the time the initial reports came in to the sirens sounding to the “all clear.” I am also proud of our partnership with the Chapel Hill police, and pleased with the timely resolution of this situation.”

Union Meditation Room Update

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A while ago, I wrote about the Union’s proposed plans for a meditation space within the Union. I recently had a conversation with the Union about their proposal and thought it might be worthwhile to share some of the developments.

Apparently, the plans for including a foot washing basin/floor-level sink have been modified. The Union is currently planning on locating the basin in a special gender non-specific bathroom near the mediation room. The interior of the room will also be decorated along the lines of a “natural” theme (plants, sunlight, etc.). The room will also be non-reservable and simply open on a first-come, first-serve basis.

I think this seems a better way to go, compared to some of the Union’s earlier plans. The incorporation of religious items in the room would only complicate the purpose of the room. As I understand it, the room is designed to be a place where students can get away from the chaos of campus life. Particularly since some reports indicate that stress among incoming freshman is at an all-time high, the utility of such a mediation room is obvious. The inclusion of religious items in the room would lead to unnecessary conflict as different groups compete for the limited space and resources of the room.

This changes are generally a positive development. The current plan solves some of the safety and logistical issues involved with Muslim students’ devotional practices while avoiding the problem of having one group dominate (or appear to dominate) the room.