A gunman opened fire at UNC Charlotte on Tuesday, injuring four and killing two others during a gathering for a concert on campus at around 5:40 p.m., at the Kennedy Building. One suspect is already in custody, and The Washington Post reported that police had not assumed there were any other suspects.
During the shooting, an alert went out, telling students to “Run, Hide, Fight. Secure yourself immediately.” Students were urged to hold their hands up when police passed and cooperate by answering any questions. Campus buildings went on lock down, and many (such as residential halls) remained that way until after 9 p.m. as police continued to methodically search each building. According to an update on their emergency website, the university will remain in suspended operations until 12 p.m., Wednesday.
In the wake of the event, people swiftly unified, providing updates and communicating with each other via forums and text messages.
One student was in the library when the shooting happened.
“Suddenly I heard people running by, there was a lot of commotion, we all kinda ran towards a room.” They reported on the Reddit forum for UNC Charlotte.
“Within seconds, there were like forty of us in the first floor room locked inside with tables and chairs locking the door. We were sitting under the tables, girls were crying and we were all freaking the hell out. There were random updates, the incident hadn’t even hit the news, and nobody knew if the shooter was in the library or Kennedy or somewhere else. Someone called 911, then someone announced the cops were at the campus, then we got that nineralert message.” Another person described listening to the scanner with one earbud in, providing updates as they remained alert for the shooter during the event.
The student who was on lockdown in the library added, “I was honestly overwhelmed as hell…when that possibility of losing your life is real, your logical mind just goes into overdrive. You can’t think straight. You start remembering your loved ones…It has been a long day but that shit just shook me up. We later got escorted out by cops through the front door and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget that.”
The Washington Post reported that many students were in hysterics during the aftermath of the incident, and the university remains in shock. UNC Charlotte urged students to let their families know they were safe, and a family reunification center was set up in a parking lot. Final exams were cancelled through Sunday, but as one student wrote on the forum, “…all things considered, [I] wish I was just doing a stats final instead of what actually happened.”
Emotions remain high in the wake of the tragedy, and many angry students have argued, or refused, to post the shooter’s name or give his actions any publicity.
At Appalachian State University, our heart goes out to our fellow students who were affected in the awful shooting. It would be remiss, however, to call UNC Charlotte students victims — not according to the strength they possessed in the wake of the event. The way in which people have come together to provide support and help, even in the midst of something so frightening, is truly inspiring, and it is a tenacity to be applauded. The community stands firmly behind you.
To our readers: if you have not yet had the chance to sign up for emergency alerts from your university, please do so. UNC Charlotte students reported that they did appreciate the responsiveness of police and found the university’s alert system helpful in the midst of the attack. Signing up for text alerts, following your university’s twitter account, or signing up for a university forum can keep you updated in the event of an emergency and make a difference in the event of something unspeakable as a shooting. Stay safe, and please don’t forget to enjoy the last week of school.