Two Dead, Four Injured, One In Custody In Shooting On UNCC Campus

Apr 30, 2019

Updated 12:30 a.m.

A shooting on the campus of the University of North Carolina Charlotte left two people dead and four wounded Tuesday, prompting a lockdown on campus.

Credit Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have the suspect in custody. CMPD identified him as  22-year-old Trystan Andrew Terrell. He's lived in Charlotte since 2014 and is a prior resident of Mansfield, Texas.

The lockdown was not lifted until close to 11 p.m. Exams have been canceled through Sunday, according to a school alert. 

The first official alert of the shooting occurred at 5:50 p.m. UNC Charlotte tweeted: "Shots reported near kennedy. Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately."

The shooting occurred near the campus’ Kennedy building, which is where information technology services is located.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois called it "the saddest day in UNC Charlotte’s history." 

"Obviously our first concern right now, our total concern, is with our victims and their families and the injured, and to see that they get nursed back into good health," Dubois said in a late-night press conference.

An adjunct professor who was teaching at Fretwell Hall, two buildings over from Kennedy, was in a room with 13 students when the alerts went out. The doors to her classroom open outward, so students grabbed computer cords to bind the hinges. They piled desks in front of the doors. Then they watched the classroom TV to find out what had happened. She and the students were also getting updates from the university via text, email and the LiveSafe app.

She said her students were "nervous but calm." They were cleared to leave the building about 7:45 p.m.

About three hours after the shooting, UNCC Police Chief Jeff Baker described the events to reporters.

"Our dispatch received a call that a suspect was armed with a pistol and had shot several students. We responded. We were able to get into the building quick enough to where we actually took custody of the suspect. He was disarmed and he was taken into custody." 

Baker continued, "We also at the same time simultaneously secured the entire campus. We were able to lock it down through a system that we utilize and we can simply press down one button and lock down the majority of campus." 

Medic personnel on UNCC's campus Tuesday.
Credit Nick de la Canal / WFAE

Chief Baker said in addition to the two fatalities, three other people are in critical condition and another person is injured. 

Dubois praised UNC Charlotte police, CMPD and other emergency officials, saying,  "The suspected shooter is in custody and lives were saved thanks to their rapid response."

As word of the deadly attack spread, officials took to social media to respond.

Mayor Vi Lyles wrote on Twitter: "We are in shock to hear 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."

Gov. Roy Cooper said in a Facebook post shortly before 9 Tuesday night: "This is a tragic day for Charlotte and this great university. We mourn the lives lost and we will all be here to support each other. I commend the first responders for their quick action and am grateful that the campus is now secure. I have been briefed by state officials and have spoken by phone with Mayor Lyles. I am en route and will be in Charlotte within the hour." 

Student Laura Olmos said: "I got a call saying don't come back to campus, because I was going to come back to have dinner with my friends. I just went to the Target parking lot and started crying.

"It's so scary. We heard that he was at the library. My friends are at the library. So you think of everyone you have to call to make sure they're okay.

"One of my friends said her classmate got shot," Olmos continued.

"Now we are one of those schools. It's so crazy."

Ari Seal, a PhD student, says he was in the campus gym when the active shooter announcement came over the loudspeaker.

The music was shut off, the lights turned out, and the students instructed to huddle together in the center of the gym.

"I didn't know how to react," he said, "I was scared."

Seal says he sheltered inside the gym with the other students and employees for what felt like an hour until an officer came in and gave them the all clear. 

The university later reported that law enforcement officers were sweeping campus buildings.

The campus was to host a concert at the school's football stadium.

The university has more than 26,500 students and 3,000 faculty and staff.