A suspect reported to be a student has been arrested in a shooting that left two people dead and four others injured, three critically, on Tuesday at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, officials said.
Official details of the shooting remained unclear, but campus Police Chief Jeff Baker said emergency dispatch received a call late in the afternoon about an individual armed with a pistol who had shot several students.
Two or three campus police officers responding to the call entered the building, disarmed the suspect and took the individual into custody, Baker said. Neither the suspect’s identity nor sex was immediately disclosed by police.
“Our officers’ actions definitely saved lives. There’s no doubt about that,” Baker said.
The gun violence unfolded on the last day of classes for the academic year, prompting a security lockdown of the entire campus as police swept the university one building at a time, evacuating students as they progressed. Final exams were scheduled for next week.
Video footage aired on local television and posted to social media showed scenes — increasingly familiar with the rise of school gun violence in the United States — of students evacuating campus buildings with their hands raised as police officers ran past them toward the scene of the shooting.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department spokeswoman Sandy D’Elosua said the individual who was arrested was believed to have acted alone.
Baker confirmed that two victims were killed and four other injured, three of them listed in critical condition.
Television station WBTV in Charlotte reported that gunfire erupted near the university’s Kennedy Hall administrative building.
“We are in shock to learn of an active shooter situation on the campus of UNC Charlotte. My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives, those injured, the entire UNCC community and the courageous first responders who sprang into action to help others,” Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles said on Twitter.
Susan Harden, a professor of education on campus since 2011 who also serves on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, expressed disbelief at the gun violence.
This is a day at the end of the semester, when students are doing performances, presentations ... this is just the worst thing” Harden said at the police staging area. Our campus is so safe. So safe. I’ve never felt unsafe on our campus. I’m heartbroken.” She added: I’ve got a student who’s barricaded in her dorm right now.” Mecklenburg Emergency Management Services, an independent agency that handles emergency services for the county, also confirmed on Twitter that two people were dead on the scene and that four others were taken to a hospital, two with life-threatening injuries.
Absolutely heartbroken to learn of the two deaths at UNC-Charlotte. Details still unfolding, but prayers with those receiving medical care right now” U.S. Representative Mark Walker, a Republican from North Carolina, said on Twitter.
WSOC-TV reported that the shooter was a student at the university.
Initial word of the shooting surfaced in a frantic warning posted by the school on its official Twitter account.
Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately” the university posted. The school said later on its website the campus was on lockdown and that students and staff should remain in a safe location.” According to its website, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte enrolls more than 26,500 students and employees 3,000 faculty and staff.
The deadliest mass shooting on a campus of higher education in the United States took place at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, on April 16, 2007, when a student killed 32 people in a shooting rampage, before killing himself.