A knife-wielding man sent the University into lockdown for more than an hour Sunday — and a lack of information about the incident from the Department of Public Safety has students frenzied.
A man was apprehended around 5 p.m. Sunday. DPS Lt. Rahsheem Holland refused to release the name of the man, or any arrest or incident reports regarding the incident.
Though he was taken into custody, DPS officers were still in the process of getting warrants to arrest the man around 10:30 p.m., said University spokeswoman Karen Moon. No one was in custody for the crime at the Orange County Jail at press time.
After brandishing a knife in the Student Union, the man charged toward Lenoir Dining Hall and made a run for Franklin Street, according to witnesses.
The man was apprehended by Chapel Hill Police at Chapel of the Cross on East Franklin Street. He was later turned over to DPS.
“Everything is OK,” said Chapel Hill Police Sgt. Gabriel Shinn. “He was found and he is in custody right now.”
Police are also looking into a Saturday incident that could be related.
Sophomore Peter Diaz said he and and a friend were eating at Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom in the 140 West plaza Saturday night when a man wielded a knife at them. Diaz said that man was the same man who was armed on campus Sunday afternoon.
Diaz said someone called the police, who canvassed the area Saturday night to find the man. Chapel Hill police spokesman Lt. Kevin Gunter said the department received a belated report Sunday night and is now investigating whether the incidents are related.
“We are aware of the incident now,” Gunter said. “We are not sure if it’s the same person from earlier on campus today, it is under investigation.”
Diaz said he was shaken by the event.
“I wish there had been a sort of public release about it; very few people knew this happened (Saturday) night,” he said.
Steve Roy, the general manager at Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, could not confirm whether the armed man on campus had been at his restaurant Saturday night.
After sending the initial warning message and sounding campus sirens Sunday, DPS did not release any additional information until giving students the all-clear.
Students had no idea what weapon the armed man possessed, what he was wearing or where he was on campus during the lockdown.
Alpine Bagel employee Rachel Gaylord-Miles said she and other students called the police around 4:06 p.m. But the Alert Carolina message says University police did not report the man until around 4:20 p.m.
“All the people in the Union were uneasy about what’s going to happen next — should we leave, should we not leave?” she said. “There were no warnings. It was only an hour later that they shut down the Union.”
Gaylord-Miles said one officer came to the Union after the call and it took a while for other officers to arrive.
“They’re quicker to pull an alarm for a tornado than they are an armed suspect.”
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