Motive Unclear in Fatal NC Campus Shooting

Students gather across from the campus of UNC Charlotte on Tuesday after hearing a gunman opened fire there. (AP Photo/Jason E. Miczek)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CN) – Police are still trying to determine what motivated a gunman to kill two people and injure four others Tuesday night at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte before he was disarmed and arrested.

Students received an emergency alert around 5 p.m., after reports of shots being fired near the Kennedy Hall on UNC Charlotte’s main campus prompted an immediate lockdown.

“Shots reported near kennedy. Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately,” the university’s alert said.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said the scene was secure around 7:30 p.m., but the campus remained on lockdown well into the night as law enforcement swept each building on campus.

Trystan Andrew Terrell. (Booking photo by Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.)

During the last day of classes on Tuesday, students were directed to reunite with their families at a Harris Teeter location near the university.

A male suspect was immediately taken into police custody and was identified by police as Trystan Andrew Terrell. The 22-year-old was charged with two counts of murder overnight. His motive remains unclear.

Student Drew Pescaro was one of the four people who were injured during the shooting and he is expected to recover.

In a press briefing on Tuesday night, UNCC Police Chief Jeff Baker said campus officers were able to secure the area and disarm the suspect immediately because of previous training to “go to the sound,” and other protocols that were in place.

Baker said the suspect was unable to leave the room where the attack took place before he was apprehended by an officer and his pistol was confiscated.

Campus police were preparing for a Waka Flocka Flame rap concert that was supposed to take place on Tuesday night, which helped officers respond quickly to the situation, Baker told reporters.

Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, a Democrat who represents the Charlotte area, said in a tweet on Tuesday, “I’m horrified to hear about the shooting at UNC Charlotte. I encourage everyone to adhere to emergency personnel and stay safe. My office is monitoring the situation and my thoughts are with everyone on campus.”

Condolences were also shared by Democratic Governor Roy Cooper, who arrived on the scene a few hours after the deadly shooting.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Phillip Dubois said Tuesday’s attack was the saddest day in the history of the university and expressed gratitude for law enforcement’s rapid response in a letter issued following the event.

“There is still much that we don’t know and we will share information with you as soon as it is available,” Dubois said. “Among those unknowns is how we will navigate the remainder of the semester, including the final examination schedule and graduation.”

Exams will be canceled through Sunday while the university formulates a plan to move forward.

“The entire UNC Charlotte community shares the shock and grief of this senseless, devastating act. This was an attack on all of Niner Nation,” Dubois said.

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