Grad student charged with professor’s murder in fatal campus shooting

A horrific shooting left an associate professor dead at the University of North Carolina (UNC) on Monday. A graduate student allegedly shot and killed his faculty adviser before fleeing the scene. The campus was left in shock as authorities launched a manhunt for the suspect, leading to a temporary lockdown. The suspect, Tailei Qi, 34, was apprehended without force in a nearby residential neighborhood within two hours of the attack.

Qi has been charged with first-degree murder and possessing a firearm on educational property. UNC Police Chief Brian James provided updates during a press conference, emphasizing the ongoing investigation into the motive behind the attack.

Zijie Yan, a faculty member at UNC, was fatally shot inside a science building by Qi, his graduate student. The exact location of the incident has not been disclosed as investigators continue to gather evidence. UNC Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz expressed his condolences, describing Yan as a beloved colleague, mentor, and father to two young children. In honor of Yan’s memory, the school’s iconic Bell Tower will ring, and students are encouraged to observe a moment of silence. Classes have been canceled until Thursday to allow the campus community time to process the tragedy.

Zijie Yan, an associate professor in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences, had been with UNC since July 2019. He led the Yan Research Group, which Qi joined last year. Yan was highly respected as a professor and research adviser, known for his expertise in the field. Students who worked with him describe him as approachable and patient, always willing to guide them through their research. The lab focused on studying nanoparticles under the influence of light, with potential applications in medicine and other fields.

Qi made a brief appearance in Orange County Superior Court, where Judge Sherri Murrell ordered him to remain in jail without bond. The next court date has been scheduled for September 18. Qi, accompanied by a Mandarin interpreter, bowed to the judge, his defense attorney, and the guards before being taken away in handcuffs. The investigation is ongoing, with police working to determine the motive behind the attack and locate the firearm used in the crime.