By TOM FOREMAN Jr. Associated Press
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A shooting on a North Carolina university campus left two people dead and four wounded Tuesday, prompting a lockdown and chaotic scene in the state’s largest city.
UNC Charlotte issued a campus lockdown late Tuesday afternoon, saying shots had been fired. Later in the evening, the campus was declared secure after a suspect was taken into custody.
“Shots reported near kennedy. Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately,” the university said in an alert, referring to the school’s Kennedy building on campus.
Mecklenburg Emergency Medical Services Agency said on Twitter that two people were killed, two others had life-threatening injuries and another two people were treated for less serious injuries. They said the numbers could change.
Aerial shots from local television news outlets showed police officers running toward a building, while another view showed students running on a campus sidewalk.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department later said that the campus had been secured and that officers were going through buildings to let people who had sheltered in place know that it was safe. Police said that one suspect was in custody, and it didn’t appear that others were involved.
It was not immediately clear whether the victims were students.
The university has more than 26,500 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. The campus is located northeast of the city center and is surrounded by residential areas.
Sam Rice, a senior on UNC Charlotte’s tennis team, told Spectrum News that he was in the library studying for a final exam when he heard people yelling “shooter, shooter.” He said he heard police yelling for people to stay down and stay on the floor.
He was “waiting for someone to tell us everything was going to be OK.”
When people were told to leave, he ran out in his socks, running over glass on the floor.
His reaction is “just shock,” he told the television station. “It doesn’t feel real.”
Susan Harden, an UNCC professor and Mecklenburg County Commissioner, was at home when she heard of the shooting. She went to a staging area, she said, to provide support.
Harden said she has taught inside the Kennedy building, where the shootings occurred.
“It breaks my heart. We’re torn up about what’s happened,” Harden said. “Students should be able to learn in peace and in safety and professors ought to be able to do their jobs in safety.”
Associated Press writers Martha Waggoner and Emery Dalesio in Raleigh contributed to this report.