News broke Monday afternoon of another school shooting. But in the coming days, as details emerge, expect the establishment media to forget about this progressively peculiar case. Already we’ve found that the alleged killer is a Wuhan-educated doctoral student accused of murdering a faculty member, his mentor, inside a campus lab.
Here’s what we know, so far:
Following reports of a shot fired, wounding at least one person inside a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill lab building, campus police quickly identified a person of interest in the “armed and dangerous person situation.” A photograph of Tailei Qi, a UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student at the university’s Department of Applied Physical Sciences, was posted by UNC Police.
It’s certainly not the face of “white supremacy” on a mass murdering rampage to wipe out racial minorities, a story the salivating press would pounce to cover. Both the suspected shooter and the slain victim are Asian, with Chinese surnames.
Orange County Sheriff’s Office inmate listings show that Qi was booked into Orange County Detention Center and charged with first-degree murder, plus possessing a gun on educational property, in the shooting death of UNC associate professor Zijie Yan. Yan was Qi’s academic adviser. A digital trail demonstrates that the two scholars closely worked together in a laboratory setting.
According to Qi’s still-active LinkedIn profile, where he listed his “he/him” pronouns, the second-year Ph.D. student and researcher previously studied at China’s Ministry of Education-sponsored Wuhan University. There, the 34-year-old alumnus earned a bachelor’s degree in physics with a minor in business management/administration from Wuhan University, which was confirmed by a student biography published on a website run by UNC-Chapel Hill. (Qi’s bio has since been scrubbed from the UNC directory.) The U.S. public research university is known to have collaborated with the CCP-run Wuhan Virology Institute, where gain-of-function (GoF) research was funded by COVID-19 czar Dr. Anthony Fauci’s National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Yan, whose area of expertise was nanoscience technology a.k.a. nanotech, has recently co-authored scientific studies with numerous Wuhan University researchers, including a pair of publications written with Qi: a July 30 article and a fall 2022 research paper on nanoparticles. One month ago, a July 28 profile on UNC’s site spotlighted Yan’s work with “optical tweezers,” a scientific tool to trap then manipulate living cells, as a method aimed at advancing nanomedicine and developing “advanced nanorobots within cells.” Yan is quoted in the article as advocating for the superiority of optical tweezers over current drug-delivery methods. Other applications include gene therapy: the treatment of diseases by transfer of genetic material into cells. Nanorobots can measure pH levels and temperature within cells, among other metrics to assess the health of a cell, Yan explained in the piece.
Qi, currently a member of the “Yan Research Group,” appears to be pictured half-smiling and wearing a beige hat in the group photo at the bottom of the write-up. Per his LinkedIn page, Qi gained experience using “optical tweezers” as a UNC research assistant.
Yan’s professor page says he worked at the Caudill Laboratories, where the fatal shooting took place. Video emerged of UNC students jumping out of the school’s second-floor windows to flee the active shooter, before the SWAT team arrived on the scene.
🚨 New video: Students spotted at @UNC jumping out of buildings after reports of active shooter on campus. The first news conference is scheduled for 5 PM today. WRAL confirmed 1 death. @WRAL pic.twitter.com/VbFi6g45rK
— Mark Boyle (@MarkBoyleTV) August 28, 2023
Law enforcement was filmed swarming Caudill Labs, where officers found Yan fatally shot, in response to a 911 call reporting gunfire around 1 p.m. Monday that triggered a university-wide lockdown. Until an all-clear was issued, a shelter-in-place emergency-alert notice advised students and staff to “go inside now,” “avoid windows,” and barricade themselves inside classrooms, dorms, and bathrooms, as the manhunt was underway. UNC Police warned the public to keep a safe distance away from the suspect, if spotted, while 50 police vehicles reportedly pulled up in droves and helicopters circled over the school.
An hour-and-a-half-long search for the suspect at-large ensued until authorities caught Qi in a residential area, and tracked to a neighborhood north of UNC’s campus. Eye witnesses told ABC11 that cops were chasing a man through the area, ultimately capturing him just after 2:30 p.m. WRAL reporter Mark Boyle uploaded a video of the arrest when police placed Qi in custody.
A photograph shared with WRAL was also taken of Qi handcuffed sitting in front of a driveway.
In the evening, UNC Police Chief Brian James held a press conference to discuss the shooting and apprehension.
Yan’s shooting death was the only fatality and no other injuries were reported. Yan’s identity was not immediately released as the school waited for confirmation that Yan’s next of kin was contacted, Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz announced in a statement emailed across campus. Qi was not immediately named, either, as UNC Police waited for criminal charges to be formally filed.
Qi was the second individual taken into police custody, James revealed, after a first person was questioned and released. “There was another person that was detained, and we determined very quickly that was not the suspect,” James told reporters.
At the time of the press briefing, the weapon used was not yet located, supposedly tossed somewhere between campus and the Williams Circle suburbs, two miles north of UNC-Chapel Hill. The arrest warrant lists the gun as a 9mm pistol. However, it is “too early to determine” if the firearm was legally obtained, James said at the press lectern. A car discovered in a nearby parking lot is also believed to be related to the “ongoing” investigation, which is set to unfold over several weeks, James stated. “I’m not prepared at this time to say exactly what the connection is,” Janes said of the car, identified as “a piece of possible evidence.”
Janes said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is providing assistance, including the FBI’s evidence response team, which is deployed to recover evidence at crime scenes, lending a hand.
“We want to ensure that we gather every piece of evidence to determine exactly what happened here today and why it happened,” James said, as police are working to uncover a motive.
Qi was scheduled to appear in court in Orange County on Tuesday, according to the district attorney’s office.