The search for a weapon used in the Aug. 28 shooting on UNC’s campus is still ongoing, according to multiple officials. UNC Police is collaborating with additional law enforcement units, including the N.C. Department of Public Safety and the FBI.
Tailei Qi is the suspect charged with the murder of professor Zijie Yan and possession of a gun on educational property, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office inmate listing. In a news conference on Aug. 29, Chief Brian James of UNC Police said the firearm used in the shooting was a 9 mm handgun.
Qi was apprehended on Williams Circle in Chapel Hill, leaving an approximate two-mile path from the site of the shooting, Caudill Laboratories, where a firearm could have been deposited.
The Daily Tar Heel received confirmation on Sept. 8 from UNC Media Relations that the weapon still has not been located.
Retired Orange County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Rick Smith said the investigation will most likely involve a hand search for the weapon, which he said would involve retracing Qi’s path and doing a grid search to cover every possible area.
Smith said the weapon could be located anywhere within the two-mile path. Land features like Bolin Creek will complicate the search.
“You would need to walk that thing up and down,” Smith said, referring to the creek.
UNC Police and the Chapel Hill Police Department declined to comment on the investigation or the nature of their collaboration with other law enforcement agencies.
Information regarding details of the investigation by UNC Police and other law enforcement agencies will not be made public until after the ongoing investigation is concluded.