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Suspect in Wednesday's gun incident at Alpine Bagel makes first appearance in court

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District Court Judge Hathaway Pendergrass presided over the case against Mickel Deonte Harris, 27, during his first appearance at the Orange County Courthouse on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, following his arrest in connection to an incident involving a firearm at Alpine Bagel on UNC’s campus Wednesday.

Mickel Deonte Harris, the suspect charged in Wednesday afternoon's active gun situation on UNC's campus, made his first appearance virtually at the Orange County Courthouse today.

Harris, 27, allegedly brandished a gun in the Student Union and was arrested around 2:45 p.m., more than 30 minutes after UNC issued the all-clear. An Emergency Alert Carolina text message sent at 12:55 p.m. on Wednesday ordered students, faculty and staff to shelter in place. The lockdown lasted approximately one hour and fifteen minutes and was the University's second in 16 days.

Harris is charged with assault by pointing a gun, communicating threats, possessing a gun on educational property and going armed to the terror of the public on Sept. 13 and is currently being held in the Orange County Jail.

According to his Sept. 13 arrest warrant, he orally threatened to kill "the person of Jason Carpenter" while pointing a gun at him. "The threat was made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out and the person threatened believed that the threat would be carried out," the warrant read. 

Earlier that day, according to state attorney Jill Harden, Harris' girlfriend's employment had been terminated at Alpine Bagels, housed in the Student Union. Harden said Harris went to Alpine Bagels around 12:44 p.m. and pointed a 9 mm handgun with a light on it at Carpenter — a supervisor at Alpine Bagels — and said, "I will blow your fucking head off."

During a University press conference on Wednesday, UNC Police Chief Brian James said the University received a 911 call at 12:45 p.m. about a person brandishing a gun at Alpine Bagel. A University-wide Alert Carolina emergency message was issued at 12:55 p.m. after police confirmed the situation through interviews with Alpine Bagel employees.

Harris was also arrested on aggravated assault warrants related to a Sept. 5 "road rage incident." An investigation of the incident showed Harris had threatened to kill a person with a bat and handgun at or near a convenience store on Old Durham Road.

District Court Judge Hathaway Pendergrass presided over Harris' first appearance. During Wednesday's arraignment, Harden presented both the Sept. 13 and Sept. 5 charges filed against Harris.

In a post on X, District Attorney Jeff Nieman said Harris was arrested and warrants were served on both sets of charges.

The gun on educational property charge, Harris' most serious charge, carries a maximum punishment of 24 months in prison and a minimum punishment of three months in prison. 

Harris has been set a $50,000 bond and, if he makes bond before trial, he will have an ankle monitor. He was represented by an assigned district public defender, L. Carter Thompson.

Law enforcement also executed a search warrant on Harris' residence on Wednesday and seized a 9 mm handgun, 13 rounds of 9 mm ammunition and receipts of purchase for firearms and ammunition.

Harris' next court appearance is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 18.

@abbypenderr | @ethanehorton1

@DTHCityState | city@dailytarheel.com

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Ethan E. Horton

Ethan E. Horton is the 2023-24 city & state editor at The Daily Tar Heel. He has previously served as a city & state assistant editor and as the 2023 summer managing editor. Ethan is a senior pursuing a double major in journalism and media and political science, with a minor in history.